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Villagers Learn Prevention, Solutions to Forced Evictions

Tep Vanny, rear center, of Boeung Kak lake, scuffles with riot police officers during a protest rally against land eviction near the prime minister's residence, in Phnom Penh, file photo.
Around 250 villagers from 41 different impoverished communities gathered in Phnom Penh Monday for a two-day seminar that looked into strategies to prevent forced eviction.

The seminar looked into questions of infrastructure, health, education, and jobs—“to advocate in the future,” said Ee Sarom, head of the Teang Tnaut Association, which sponsored the meeting.

Rights workers estimate that at least 150,000 people have been forced from their homes in Cambodia in the last decade, in the midst of expanded urban and rural developments.

The village representatives wrote on paper the problems they hope to submit to authorities.

“The evictions are serious, actually, in Cambodia,” said Yorm Bopha, an activist who was released on bail recently and is facing assault charges that her supporters say are aimed at curbing anti-eviction demonstrations. “We are seeking the will of the government to deal with the evictions.”

Long Dimanche, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh city government, told VOA Khmer the municipality is poised to address poor communities and their needs in the coming year.