You can now get a taste for the upcoming film Cause of Progress by Irish filmmaker Chris Kelly. Featuring extensive footage of Boeung Kak and other land grabs and evictions around Cambodia, the film is now at a critical stage in its funding – more funds are urgently needed to get the film completed by the end of 2011. To view the trailer and help the team finish the film, go to this site.
On May 30, the Phnom Penh Post reported BKL residents have rejected an on-site development plan proposed by the MPP. The plan, which requires households to live in apartment buildings, fell short of the villagers’ demands for individual plots for each household. You can read the full article here.
Representatives of villagers from the Boeung Kak lakeside claimed yesterday that Phnom Penh Municipal authorities were delaying negotiations over a proposal for on-site resettlement as part of a strategy to evict villagers. Boeung Kak residents have been in talks with municipal authorities since an original proposal requesting that 15 hectares of the 133-hectare project be set aside for on-site relocation housing was rejected by municipal governor Kep Chuktema in April. Tep Vanny, a representative of Boeung Kak villagers, said yesterday that one family had received two eviction notices on Wednesday, signed by a member of the Boeung Kak Development Committee, stating that “legal action will be taken” if they do not meet a seven-day eviction deadline.
To read the rest of the article from the Phnom Penh Post, click here.
Residents facing eviction in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake development sent a request to the city on Thursday asking for the establishment of a commission to measure plots of land they think could solve the problem. The request comes amid increased pressure on authorities to resolve a standoff between a local developer and thousands of impoverished residents who refuse to make way for an extensive commercial and residential property project. Resident representative Tep Vanny told VOA Khmer on Friday the community had submitted a request asking for city authorities and the Ministry of Land Management’s cadastre office to measure plots of land under a new compensation plan. Residents have reduced their demands for 15 hectares of land, set aside from the 133-hectare development, down to 10 hectares, said Ly Srey Mom, another village representative. Under that scheme, 744 plots of land would be established for 1,500 families, she said.
To read the rest of the article from VOA, click here.
The World Bank issued the below press release on May 16, 2011:
Statement from the World Bank on Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project
PHNOM PENH, Monday, May 16, 2011 – We have reported to the Board of Executive Directors that the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Municipality of Phnom Penh and the residents of Boeung Kak Lake have informed us they are currently negotiating to try and reach an agreement to provide an on-site housing option for the remaining residents.
Representatives of the Boeung Kak Lake residents have confirmed that initial discussions with the Municipality of Phnom Penh have been held and they are hopeful that a formal agreement can be reached, although as of today, this has not yet been achieved.
We are encouraging the parties to reach a resolution and in the interim will be closely monitoring the progress of negotiations.
In addition, the Royal Government of Cambodia has told the World Bank it is taking a number of steps to improve resettlement processes more generally in Cambodia.
The Washington Post covered the story “World Bank keeps pushing Cambodia over land evictions but stops short of punishment”. You can read it here.
The Phnom Penh Post also covered the story “World Bank eyes Boeugn Kak Lake fight”. You can read it here.
Foreign Policy, the award-winning magazine of global politics and economics, has published a piece on Boeung Kak. You can read it here.
Om Yentieng, head of the Anticorruption Unit and the government’s human rights committee, claimed this week that no human rights violations were committed during a violent police crackdown against protestors from the Boeung Kak lakeside outside the Phnom Penh City Hall last month. The April 21 protest erupted into violence when more than 100 police wielding electric batons attacked roughly 100 villagers and arrested 11 people, including two children. Speaking on the sidelines of a two-day land rights conference in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, Om Yentieng said villagers could file a criminal complaint if they so chose, but that the police actions did not constitute a human rights violation. “[Villagers] asked City Hall about this many times, but I do not view this as a human rights violation,” he said. “Which article says that the actions of authorities were wrong?” he said, referring to Cambodia’s penal code. Rights groups say more than 4,000 families will ultimately be evicted from Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake area to make way for a real estate development run by a Chinese firm and ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin. Boeung Kak residents have staged frequent protests in the capital since the concession was awarded in 2007.Tep Vanny, a Boeung Kak representative, said Om Yentieng’s comments reflected the government’s indifference to her community’s plight. “Om Yentieng does not recognize the truth, takes no responsibility, disguises the facts and tries to confuse democracy,” she said. Ouch Leng, head of the land programme at local rights group Adhoc, said Om Yentieng’s comments demonstrated his willingness to condone human rights violations committed by government officials. “The villagers protested to find a non-violent resolution, but authorities used violence against them,” Ouch Leng said. Roughly 150,000 Phnom Penh residents, or about 9.5 percent of the capital’s current population, have been displaced since 1990, according to figures released yesterday by housing NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut. A total of 1,510 families in Phnom Penh were displaced by forced evictions and planned relocations last year, STT said. Article published by the Phnom Penh Post.