By Phom Ravy, Urban Voice Cambodia, January 21, 2015
There are a lot of poor communities in Phnom Penh, most of which are eviction-hit communities under the image of development. Living in poor conditions and squalid environments, residents of these poor communities are concerned for their safety, living conditions, and living standard.
Traveling from the south along the gateway of Neak Kavon pagoda, located in Toul Kok district, you will see the line of poor settlements—Community 104 and 105—situated along the gate as a result of evictions. People living in these communities struggle everyday trying to make a living by selling dry prawns, working as garbage collectors, construction workers, or factory laborers.
There are a number of concerning issues that Communities 104 and 105 are facing. The most threatening issue that can be seen now is forceful eviction without proper financial compensation. Other issues include safety, robberies, fire, living environment, hygiene, and health. Residents living in these communities are now asking for better solutions to the evictions and are demanding for proper compensation based on the standard price of land in the current market. Sadly, the government has done very little in response. Moreover, recently, there it has been rumored that the government will opt for mutual land agreements for new settlements (similar to what has been done at Borey Kiela) in order to solve the problem. The residents have rejected this proposition due to the fact that their land is more valuable than what has been offered.
The government should be offering proper solutions to the residents which ensure the residents’ living conditions and safety. More importantly, the government should guarantee that there will be no further forceful evictions as it threatens the residents’ way of living; however if there is, the victims should be granted the proper compensation for their land.