Friday, September 02, 2005

Cambodia 'suffering land crisis'

Cambodian labourers look at bulldozers and trucks at a site in Phnom Penh, 08 July 2005.
Cambodians are losing their homes to developers

There is a major land crisis in Cambodia, a leading United Nations human rights official has said.

The special rapporteur on adequate housing, Miloon Kothari, spent the past two weeks travelling around Cambodia.

He said that rich and powerful interests were grabbing land, leaving thousands of people dispossessed.

Over the past year land deals have been an increasing source of controversy, but this is the first time they have gained international attention.

The UN official has been to several disputed sites. They include a village in Poipet near the Thai border where five people died during forced evictions, and a river island in Phnom Penh, whose inhabitants are under pressure to sell up to a property developer.

There is a frenzy now across the country by the rich and powerful in Cambodia to acquire land
Miloon Kothari, UN special rapporteur on adequate housing

Mr Kothari is particularly concerned about the practice of land swaps. In recent months, dozens of publicly owned facilities have been given to private companies for redevelopment without any bidding process.

The companies are supposed to build new public facilities and housing in return, but Mr Kothari said they were using poor land which did not have access to electricity or running water, and thousands of families had been displaced. He is asking for more transparency in the government's dealings.

"There is a frenzy now across the country by the rich and powerful in Cambodia to acquire land. I think the donor communities and the UN agencies need to be much more outspoken. What I find missing here is a sense of outrage that should be there," he said.

Cambodia's Prime Minister, Hun Sen, announced a moratorium on land swaps at the beginning of June, but deals are still coming to light.

Last week, the interior ministry announced that part of Phnom Penh's royal palace had been given to a property developer.


At 2:44 PM, Blogger - allan - said...

its so tragic..
damn government

At 3:03 PM, Blogger ~*~ Maryam ~*~ said...

Sopmething that annoys me the most is the rich stealing from the poor. I shall keep my calm and not say bad words. One day the rich will feel the pinch and be poor themselfs, poor of love and care from others due to their ignorant greedy acts. The poor people are surely rich in one thing, thats their lvoe and affection for others. i travelled to thailand and malaysia in the last 2 years and the affection i felt from the locals was beautifull,its not something i feel here often in this greedy country.
InshAllah the poor be given back what they lost and live sweet lives in peace and safety.Ameen


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