MPP rejects community olive branch

Feb. 23, 2011. In an apparently strategic move, late in the afternoon the day before today’s Boeung Kak community press conference the Municipality of Phnom Penh issued a letter to the community rejecting their alternative onsite development plan. Nevertheless, the community went ahead with the press conference presenting a landsharing plan as a solution to the ongoing land dispute between Shukaku Inc. and the community.

Asserting they are the rightful owners of the land, the community proposed to share their land with the company, provided 15ha, or around 12% of the total area leased to Shukaku Inc., was granted for onsite development. Replying to the MPP’s rejection letter, the community spokesperson stated:

“Yesterday, we were extremely disappointed to receive a letter from the MPP rejecting our proposal. We strongly believe our proposal not only represents a mutually beneficial solution to the ongoing land dispute, but is also a concession on our part as we agree to share land that we believe is rightfully ours. Furthermore, the rejection of this plan represents a breach in the initial contract between the MPP and Shukaku Inc.

We call on the MPP and Shukaku Inc. to reconsider their stance and accept this olive branch the Boeung Kak community is offering. Despite having been beaten, threatened, intimidated, and forced to leave our homes, we are ready to sit down to discuss an equitable, just, and sustainable solution to the ongoing land dispute. As representative of the Cambodian government and hence also the Cambodian people, we expect the MPP will do the same.”

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