On Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, residents—some of whom have been living in the Boeng Trobek area for over 30 years—are facing eviction after being told that they are living in a water-storage area in Phnom Penh by the Municipality.
Along the drainage system area—located in Village 5, Boeung Trobek commune, Chomkamon district—there are old settlements inhabited by over 400 families. Lines were recently painted along the settlements with different colors, conveying that residents must move away.
Long Dimanche, the spokesman of the Municipality, said “we are collecting data about a number of families living illegally in the Boeung Trobek area, and making a final decision about the financial compensation that we should offer to Boeung Trobek residents.”
According to Mr. Prom Somkhan, the head officer of Chomkamorn district, “the residents who are currently living in the Boeung Trobek area will be forced to move away soon [because] they have been living in the dirty lake area. ”
A 33-year-old resident living in Village 5, Ms. Chan Savath, said “I have been living with my husband, who is a sculptor, and my children here since 1995. However, my family and my neighbors are soon [going to be] evicted from our settlements, which have been painted in red [which is] a sign of eviction.” She added that the evictions have made them worry about having to move to a new settlement offered by the authority. Before, there was a broken promise by the authorities; they promised to offer us other land near Anlong Kgnan village and Prey Sor prison for compensation, yet when we agreed to move, we didn’t get the land as promise.
A 62-year-old grandmother, Kreoun Heng, said “I have been living in this area with my family since 1995. Living in a difficult situation, my husband and I have been selling dried prawns and my son-in-law works as a sculptor to feed the whole family. Talking about the land I am living in, I have been evicted many times already. And now, the authorities have painted my house with red writing saying that I must move away.”
A 53 year-old vendor in the Boeung Trobek area, Ms, Hour Seaklorn, said “I settled here with my family in 1980. Living in here for more than 30 years, I have been evicted many times after being accused of living in a water-storage area. Recently, the authorities painted my house without informing me. Then, we saw an announcement in the newspaper by Long Dimanche, spokesman for the Municipality, that the residents in Boeung Trobek area must move out soon.” Ms. Seaklorn added that she would accept the statement of eviction if the authorities provided proper compensation. “If [they don’t offer] proper compensation, we will not leave, and we will assemble in unity to fight for this demand as we would no longer be able to trust the authorities. We hope that the United Nations, NGOs, and civil society organizations will help us with this problem.”
What are your thoughts on uninformed and forceful evictions without providing proper compensation? What will happen when the residents fight the authorities’ attempt to evict them? What will happen if they go through with the eviction, keeping in mind that the land is valuable?