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New Eviction Policy Worries Rights Groups

Cambodians protesting against a recent development plan.
Cambodians protesting against a recent development plan.

Officials announced a new regulation Thursday aimed at settling evictions, but development groups and the opposition have said it will not justly settle the problems of squatters.

The regulation, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen May 31, calls on authorities to make lists of squatter communities, to determine relocation sites and to settle relocation reasonably.

The regulation comes as authorities struggle with some squatter communities scheduled to be removed amid development plans, especially in urban areas, and as rights groups say land disputes have increased over the past five months.

Chan Saveth, a senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said authorities remain indifferent to the needs of squatters when considering development plans, while onstruction of relocation sites remains slow.

The new regulation is unlikely to resolve these issues, he said.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said that other regulations and policies have not been properly applied, so he held little hope for the new one.