In B.E.2551, A.D.2007, a company, closed associate of the Cambodian government, was granted a 99-year lease over the Boeng Kak Lake area in central Phnom Penh. A year later, some 20,000 residents living in the area were threatened with eviction, and the struggle for their homes and livelihoods began. Many of the thousands of families, who were pressured to accept insufficient compensation or resettlement to a site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, have suffered severe hardship. The Boeng Kak Lake eviction is the largest forced eviction since the Khmer Rouge era. Courtesy Amnesty International
After numerous appeals, petitions, and confrontations, the biased court sentenced the 15 Boeng Kak residents (14 women and 1 man) to 2 years and 6 months each of imprisonment with insufficient evidence on Thursday May 24, B.E.2556, A.D.2012. The 15 residents have been in Prey Sar Penitentiary, PSP, for 10 days now. PSP is the largest prison in Cambodia. Literally translated – Prey means forest, sar means white. Ironically there is no white justice in this dictatorial nation.
A poem – Mothers’ Advice from Jail composed by the jailed Boeng Kak Lake Women
In the Phnom Penh Post, Friday, February 9, B.E.2550, A.D.2007
The 2001 Cambodian Land LAw
“Cambodia’s 2001 Land Law prohibits deprivation of ownership without due process and grants the right to apply for a land title to someone who has been in possession of a private property for five years. Article 44 of the Constitution states that the government can only deprive someone of property for “public interest” purposes and requires the payment of fair and just compensation.” Law in KhmerLaw in English
Open Letter by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Regarding the Forced Eviction of Residents of Boeng Kak Lake in the Phnom Penh Municipality.
To Mr. Kep Chuktema, Governor of the Municipality of Phnom Penh:
We write to you to express our deep concerns about recent developments affecting residents of the Boeng Kak Lake area in central Phnom Penh. Some residents near the lake have been forcibly evicted, while others are facing eviction amid rising water levels, and threats and harassment. Government officials and company workers have threatened residents in and around Boeng Kak Lake and NGOs supporting them, when they have campaigned against the filling of the lake and imminent eviction. Heavily armed police, including military police, frequently harass community leaders and NGO workers and block access to the area. Journalists face intimidation when reporting about the developments, including on 27 November 2008 when police took reporters in for questioning about their coverage of the situation.
As you know, in February 2007 the Municipality of Phnom Penh entered into a 99-year lease agreement for US$79 million for 133 hectares, including Boeung Kok lake and surrounding land, with a private developer, Shukaku Inc. According to the government, the company will turn the area into “pleasant, trade, and service places for domestic and international tourists,” including by filling in 90% of the lake. On 26 August 2008 a company began filling the lake, which has worsened flooding and caused the destruction of some houses.
The development will lead to the eviction of almost 4,000 families,despite many of the affected families having strong legal claims to the land under the Land Law. Without prior meaningful consultation, affected communities are currently being made non-negotiable offers of compensation or houses in a relocation site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The compensation offered is insufficient for families to obtain comparable alternative housing. Housing at the relocation site is not adequate: infrastructure is poor, basic amenities including clean water is lacking, and access to work opportunities is very limited given the distance from the city. Moreover, offers include no formal security of tenure for those agreeing to move.
Residents have sought to halt the filling of the lake which is gradually destroying homes, and have requested more compensation. However, the Municipality has told residents that they do not have the right to demand anything more than the offered compensation.
We also note with concern the prevalence of forced evictions in Cambodia. Forced evictions are evictions that are carried out without adequate notice, consultation with those affected, legal safeguards or assurances of adequate alternative accommodation. They violate Cambodian law and Cambodia’s international human rights obligations.
The development of the lake breaches Cambodian law. According to the 2001 Land Law, the lake itself is inalienable state land (so-called state public property), and as such cannot be leased for longer tha 15 years, during which time the function of the property must not change. In August 2008, a subdecree reclassified Boeng Kak Lake into private state land, in what appeared to be an attempt to validate the lease.
The agreement also appears to breach other domestic law and implementing regulations as the environmental impact assessment has not been made widely available to the public or to the affected communities, and because no open bidding process preceded the agreement.
As noted above, the development of the Boeng Kak lake breaches Cambodia’s international human rights obligations. According to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Cambodia, as a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), is obliged to ensure, before any planned evictions, that all alternatives are explored in consultation with those affected by the eviction. Evictions may only occur in accordance with the law and in conformity with international standards, including genuine consultation with those affected; adequate notice and information on the proposed eviction, and provisions of legal remedies for those affected. Evictions may only occur if they do not render individuals homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights.
We therefore call on the Municipality of Phnom Penh to ensure that the rights of the residents of Boeng Kak lake are respected and protected, and that victims of forced evictions are provided with effective remedies, including restitution of housing, land or property. We also request that arbitrary arrests, intimidation and restrictions of the right to peaceful protest be stopped immediately.
Recent research by Amnesty International and local partners indicates that 150,000 people in Cambodia are living under threat of forced eviction, including up to 70,000 in Phnom Penh alone. The government should end forced evictions and introduce a moratorium on mass evictions until the legal framework and relevant policies are in place to ensure that evictions are conducted only in accordance with Cambodia’s international human rights obligations.
The evictions taking place to pave the way for the development of Boeng Kak are emblematic of a broader problem of violations of the right to adequate housing in Cambodia. The Cambodian government has an obligation under international law to protect the population against forced evictions. Everyone — whether owners, renters or unregistered settlers — should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats.
We sincerely hope that you will take into consideration our concerns. In this regard we would like to request a meeting with you and relevant officials to discuss Boeng Kak lake and related matters.
Souhayr Belhassen, President, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Salih Booker, Executive Director, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)
Brad Adams, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch
Sam Zarifi, Director, Asia-Pacific Programme, Amnesty International.
Press Release: Housing Rights Groups Condemn Illegal Filling Of Boueng Kok
August 26, 2008
For Immediate Release:
Housing Rights Groups Condemn Illegal Filling Of Boeng Kak
26 August 2008
The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) strongly condemns the filling of Boeng Kok Lake.
Employees of a private company began pumping sand into Phnom Penh’s largest natural lake this morning at 9:00am. Local residents reported being told by company representatives that the pumping would continue eighteen hours a day until the entire lake is filled. The filling of the lake is a direct result of the unlawful 99-year lease agreement between the Municipality and Shukaku Inc. signed in February 2007.
These actions and the lease agreement itself stand in flagrant violation of the following laws:
1.Restrictions on leasing State Public Land – According to the article 15 of the Land Law (2001) water bodies, such as lakes, are considered to be State Public Property. Article 18 of the Sub-decree 129 ANK.BK states that the leasing of state public property must not exceed 15 (fifteen) years. Because the lease between Shukaku and the Municipality is for 99-years, the lease is illegal.
1.Restrictions on damaging State Public Land – According to article 16 of the Sub-decree 129 ANK.BK, the leasing of state public property must not damage the property or change its function in providing a public service. Filling the lake will obviously do irreparable harm to the lake, and thus the current pumping is illegal.
1.Infringement on privately held land – The lease agreement appears to transfer interest in land that is already legally possessed by local families under the 2001 Land Law. While the lake itself is State Public Property, many surrounding families have demonstrated legal claims to their property through legal possession. The filling of the lake threatens to flood their houses and destroy their homes.
Boeung Kak lake has historically been one of the most important of seven natural lakes around Phnom Penh, dating back to the early 1900s. It has not only been a place of recreation and enjoyment for Phnom Penh’s residents, but it serves as a natural reservoir for excess rainwater during the monsoon season. The public function of the lake is clear and this contract risks destroying that public function in violation of Cambodian Land Law.
Moreover there are growing concerns that the environmental impacts of filling the lake will create significant drainage problems in Daun Penh and Tuol Kork districts as well as depriving the city of one of its most valuable landscape amenities. Phnom Penh has already witnessed an increase in flooding during the rainy season, which has been attributed to the filling of other city lakes, such as Pong Peay lake in Tuol Kork district. The filling of Boueng Kok is a serious concern for all of Phnom Penh’s residents and it highlights the urgent need for protection of natural resources.
The Ministry of Environment (MoE) reportedly conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed development, but it has yet to release it to the public. “The residents of Phnom Penh deserve to see independently verified evidence that the lake filling will not cause flooding and other environmental problems for the city,” said Meas Kimseng, Coordinator of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut and member of the Housing Rights Task Force.
“Shukaku’s lease agreement is unlawful,” said David Pred, Cambodia Country Director of Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia and member of the Housing Rights Task Force. “It does not provide any legal cover for the company to destroy this vital natural resource and to strip away the land and housing rights of tens of thousands of Cambodian citizens. It would never hold up in court in any country with an independent judiciary,” he added.
Dan Nicholson, Coordinator of the Asia and Pacific Programme of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), called on the Municipality and company to put an immediate halt to the pumping: “The filling of the lake is blatantly illegal; it should be stopped. If the government wishes to develop Boeng Kak, they should do so through a legal process, in consultation with the communities that live around the lake.”
Housing Rights Task Force member organizations and Boeng Kok residents are now preparing to file for an injunction order in the Courts of Cambodia to challenge these illegal actions.
Community Legal Education Center
Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia
Sahmakum Teang Tnaut
For further information, please contact:
Khmer: Ms. Rachana Bunn, HRTF,
Tel: 092 546 325 or email: email@example.com
Mr. Pen Raingsey, Resettlement Action Network
Tel: 012 953 593 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
English: Mr. David Pred, BABSEA
Tel: 092 285 954 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Mr. Dan Nicholson, COHRE
Tel: 017523274 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) is a coalition of more than 20 local and international organizations dedicated to protecting housing rights, including forced evictions that are not in conformity with international human rights law and domestic law. HRTF is working to support community action and strengthen civil society organizations to promote housing rights in Cambodia.
Residents protest against continued pumping in Village 1
Residents protest against continued pumping in Village 1. Photo courtesy Save Boeng Kak
Sep. 19, 2010. As Shukaku Inc. continues pumping sand, large parts of Village 1 are increasingly inundated. Water levels have visibly increased since last night, with more water flooding into the village every minute. Some houses are not much more than islands in the stream. Photo courtesy Save Boeng Kak Lake
On Sep. 10, 2010, HRTF sent out a press release condemning the intentional flooding of the Boeng Kak area, which poses risks to public health and is forcing residents to dismantle their homes and leave the area.
HRFT Press Release 20100910_press_release_bkl_flooding_dp1
On Aug. 23, 2010, HRTF sent out a press release condemning the disruption of a peaceful meeting by some 500
residents from Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, which led to a public demonstration at Independence Monument and the closure of Sihanouk Boulevard as efforts to find an alternative meeting venue were thwarted by authorities.HRFT Press Release hrtf-press-release-on-boeung-kak-lake-23-august-2010-2
Oct. 22, 2010. Community representatives and local NGOs on Oct.21 issued an Urgent Action Appeal for the international community to intervene in the situation at Boeng Kak. Sent to foreign embassies and development partners in Phnom Penh and further afield, the appeal reads:
URGENT ACTION APPEAL
October 21, 2010
We, the undersigned community and civil society organization representatives, call upon the United Nations and all embassies and development agencies in Cambodia to urge the Cambodian Government to bring an end to the ongoing violation of human rights of residents in the Boeng Kak area of Phnom Penh.
Oct. 4 marked World Habitat Day under the slogan “Better City, Better Life”, yet in Phnom Penh Shukaku Inc. continues pumping sand and water into Boeng Kak lake and its surrounding villages, forcing residents to abandon their homes, while police persist in using violence against those peacefully protesting against the illegal development.
In the face of inaction by the authorities in response to numerous requests and petitions, residents of Boeng Kak gathered near Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house on Oct. 1 to demand a halt to the pumping of sand and water into their homes. In what has become a standard response, the demonstrators right to peaceful assembly was denied, with police using excessive and unwarranted violence to disperse the crowd, including striking women in the chest with electric batons.
Five weeks earlier, an estimated 500 Boeng Kak residents were prevented from holding a private meeting to discuss their troubles. After local authorities shut down the meeting on Aug. 23, residents carried out a spontaneous demonstration, which was dispersed by hundreds of riot police.
The situation at Boeng Kak is unacceptable. Thousands of residents are being forced to leave as their homes are swamped with mud and water, while those who attempt to claim their rights face intimidation and physical violence. Despite requests and petitions, the Royal Government of Cambodia has not taken any observable steps to stop the ongoing abuse of its citizens’ land, housing and property rights. Indeed, on Oct. 18 several residents were served eviction orders demanding them to dismantle their homes within seven days or see them demolished by the authorities.
We call upon the international community to condemn this development aggression and implore the Royal Government of Cambodia to uphold its citizens’ rights, including women’s human rights, as enshrined in the Cambodian Constitution and the international human rights covenants.
We further call upon Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to meet with representatives of the Boeng Kak community during his visit to Cambodia on Oct. 26-28 in order to demonstrate the commitment of the United Nations to its core founding purpose of “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” for all people everywhere.
We wish to convene an urgent meeting on Nov. 4 to discuss action that can be taken by the international development community on this case. Please contact Sia Phearum, Secretary General of the Housing Rights Task Force, at email@example.com by Oct. 25 to indicate whether you or your representative will attend this meeting.
Village 1, Boeng Kak
Village 6, Boeng Kak
Village 20, Boeng Kak
Village 21, Boeng Kak
Village 22, Boeung Kak
Non Sok Na
Village 23, Boeung Kak
Village 24, Boeung Kak
Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)
Chit Sam Ath
NGO Forum on Cambodia
Bridges Across Borders Cambodia (BABC)
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)
Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)
Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC)
Community Peace Building Network (CPN)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Cambodia Human Rights and Development Organization (ADHOC)
Oct. 16, 2010. Last week, as flood level in Boeng Kak reached record heights, Shukaku spoke out about the development for the first time.
Lao Vann, son of owner and CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, said the project is “part of broader efforts to develop the country” and that “our company is just a firm which received the rights from the government and from municipal authorities to invest in the Boeng Kak lake area.”
He also acknowledged yet stated complete indifference towards the ongoing human rights abuses at Boeng Kak:
“If you were the prime minister or head of the government, would you decide to develop the Boeung Kak lake area? If you did, what would you do to avoid negative effects on the people? Without any negative effects, I think you cannot do the development.”
The Phnom Penh Post wrote on 8th November 2010 that local residents feared a developer was set to resume sand pumping on at the Boeung Kak lakeside that has submerged dozens of homes since last week, with homeowners held off at gunpoint. Ty Pisey, a resident of the lakeside’s Village 1 in Daun Penh district, said company representatives had halted pumping and told villagers they had three days to collect their belongings. Last week, according to local rights group Adhoc, roughly 40 homes were submerged over three days of pumping by Shukaku Inc, a firm developing the lakeside that is owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin. “I am not sure when they will start pumping again,” Ty Pisey said. “The deputy district governor asked us to meet with the company and the municipality, but they always turn us away and tell us to talk to other people.” Daun Penh district deputy governor Sok Penh Vuth said he had no authority to intervene in the matter.
“The company has the right to invest,” he said. “It is normal that development affects people, so they should take the compensation.”
Dec. 30, 2010. The 99 monks Boeng Kak residents invited to conduct a blessing ceremony in the lake area on Dec. 29 were ordered by the authorities not take part in the ceremony. In response, residents marched to Srah Chak pagoda where the ceremony took place, after first gathering at Shukaku Inc.’s lakeside office to throw salt and rice outside the company’s grounds. Residents said they had invited 99 monks to represent the 99 years of the illegal lease to Shukaku Inc. and that they wanted to organise the ceremony to bring luck for the coming year. Commune chief Chay Thirith had approved the ceremony ahead of it taking place, yet the action was met by police and company guards.
Dec. 29, 2010. In a breaking story the Phnom Penh Post today reported a Chinese company has invested in the Boeng Kak project.
According to the article, Chinese media reports the Boeng Kak area formed part of a US$3 billion investment deal, also including a power station in Sihanoukville and exploration of bauxite in Mondulkiri.
It goes on to say Prime Minister Hun Sen himself took part in a Sep. 8 meeting with the Chinese state-owned Inner Mongolia Erdos Hung Jun Investment Co, which has signed agreements regarding the lake area with Shukaku Inc. as well as another company linked to CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, the Cambodia International Investment Development Group.
Dec. 1, 2010. The Phnom Penh Post today reported the Senate’s Commission on Human Rights Reception of Complaints and Investigation has sent a letter urging Kep Chuktema, the governor of Phnom Penh, to act to resolve the ongoing dispute between residents of the Boeng Kak lake area and Shukaku, which is headed by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin.
But is it too little too late? And how much power does the committee and/or Kep Chuktema have against Lao Meng Khin who together with his wife Yeay Phu run Pheapimex? Indeed, a report entitled “Business and Human Rights in Cambodia: Constructing Three Pillars” released by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights today, had this to say about Pheapimex:
In 2000, Pheapimex was granted two agro-industry concessions totaling over 300,000 hectares in Kampong Chhnang. Since the 1990s, Pheapimex – owned by Cambodia People’s Party Senator Oknha Lao Meng Khin and his wife, who are famously close to Prime Minister Hun Sen – has developed an infamous reputation as a logging concessionaire:
“In a forest industry dominated by illegal logging and conflict with local people, Pheapimex held the dubious distinction of being notorious amongst the concessionaires for its ruthlessness and the level of destruction inflicted upon its concession areas. It has enjoyed a long relationship with the Cambodian armed forces, and has used members of the military to provide security and exert control over its forest concessions.”
The areas covered by the 2000 concessions are heavily forested and were therefore deemed ideal for developing high pulp-yield acacia and eucalyptus plantations and for building a paper mill. The eviction affected ‘[h]undreds of villages in about 50 communes where families rely on the forest for gathering non-timber products and grazing cattle.’ Logging concessions were in theory suspended in 2002, yet allegedly deforestation continues unabated.”
Jan. 3, 2011. The Boeng Kak area is looking increasingly bare, yet some community activists are continuing the fight for their land and housing rights. On Monday morning, some 150 residents gathered at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park to again ask Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene, despite being fully aware the Prime Minister himself attended a September meeting which heralded Chinese investment into the Shukaku venture.
Feb. 28, 2011. Full media statement by the BKL community issued Feb. 23, 2011:
We are here to publicly present a landsharing plan that we have developed as a solution to the ongoing dispute between our community and Shukaku Inc. in the Boeng Kak area.
We are the people currently living in Boeng Kak, Srah Chak commune, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh. The area has been populated since 1979. Before evictions began, over 4,000 families lived in the area, divided into nine villages. In 2006, the Municipality of Phnom Penh (MPP) organized a meeting for Boeng Kak residents in Srah Chak pagoda, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh. The purpose of the meeting was to announce the commencement of systematic land titling in the area. Following this, local authorities together with a group of cadastral commission staff came to our community and measured our houses. Nevertheless, systematic land titling was never conducted in Boeng Kak. We later learned the area had been excluded from the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP).
On Feb 06, 2007, the MPP declared a lease had been signed awarding 133 ha Boeng Kak area to Shukaku Inc. Company for 99 years. In August 28, 2008, Shukaku Inc. Started pumping sand into the lake. Since then, several residents have been forcibly evicted, while remaining residents live under constant threat of eviction. The company has pumped sand to flood as well as bury residential houses, company staff and local authorities have threatened us, they have prevented community members from meeting, protesting and the residents have been beaten and treated badly by the company’s security guards and local authorities. People living in Boeng Kak consider these activities violations of their human rights.
The situation is unacceptable. The leasing of the land in Boeng Kak violates our legal rights under the Constitution of Cambodia (1993) and the Land Law (2001). We are the rightful owners of our property on the land surrounding Boeng Kak Lake.
To make us leave the area, we have been told that we have three options: cash compensation, relocation to Damnak Troyung, and on-site development. The last option is also referred to in the lease contract between Shukaku Inc. and the MPP. Unfortunately, we have never seen any plans for on-site development.
If the government needs to develop the Beong Kak area, people are not against development. However, the government needs to open negotiations to solve the problem facing the people in Beoung Kak in order to be fair, transparent and to find a win-win-win solution to the situation.
To get negotiations under way, the remaining 1000-1500 families living in the Boeng Kak area have decided to agree to the third option of on-site development.
Because no on-site development plan has been put forward by the company, we have developed our own plan to solve the land dispute between Shukaku Inc. and our community.
Our purpose here today is to state that we are willing to share our land with the developer if the Government commits to building us new housing onsite. On January 26th, formally asked the Municipality of Phnom Penh as well as Shukaku Inc. to reserve 12%, or 15 hectares, of the leased area for this purpose. We have also asked the World Bank and other development partners to support the Government to make this plan possible.
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.
Mar. 31, 2011. On Mar. 29, the Phnom Penh Post reported:
A monk at Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh on Monday fled the pagoda out of fear of arrest by authorities for his participation in protests held by Boeng Kak lakeside residents and villagers embroiled in a land dispute in Chi Kraeng commune.
The venerable Luon Sovath, ordained in 1990, went into hiding after returning from a protest in front of City Hall at the weekend, he said yesterday, adding that police have threatened him with arrest on four previous occasions over his involvement in protests.
“The authorities have not only warned me that they would arrest me, but have tried to get me defrocked by calling me a fake monk who violates Buddhist rules of conduct,” he said.
Luon Savath said that a police truck followed him back to the pagoda on Sunday and that he saw police stationed near the pagoda before fleeing in a car driven by staff at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights…
HRTF Press Release
Beating and Detention of eleven Boeng Kak lake villagers and Children
April 21, 2011
The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) strongly condemns the violence used earlier today against peaceful BoeungKak lake protesters and the arrest of 11 villagers – including young children – in front of the Phnom Penh municipal cabinet. At around 8:30AM, about 100 villagers from the BoengKak lake gathered in front of the Phnom Penh municipal cabinet to attempt once again to meet authorities to discuss two issues: i) to stop the lake filling causing flooding in the area, and ii) to stop evictions until authorities enter into negotiations with the villagers and reach an agreement with the affected residents.As the peaceful protest unfolded, about 80 armed anti-riot police and about 30 military police officers came in and circled the villagers. As the peaceful protest unfolded, about 80 armed anti-riot police and about 30 military police officers came in and circled the villagers. At 9:30 AM, a group of Phnom Penh municipal and Daun Penh district authorities, led by Phnom Penh Municipal Cabinet Deputy Chief Keu tChhay and Daun Penh district governor SokSambath, came out to ask for the villagers to return home, ignoring the villagers’ requests for discussion. The villagers refused to leave and repeated their demands for their grievances to be heard. Shortly after, the police brought in their van and arrested an initial group of six villagers, including 11-year-old and 12-year-old boys. The remaining community members were beaten and shocked by anti-riot police using electric batons as they attempted to prevent the arrests. Following the initial clash, the anti-riot police grabbed and arrested five more female villagers one by one and used more violence against the protesters to clear the area. By the end of the incident, at least three women had fallen unconscious due to electric shocks. One elderly woman, NgetChhon was bleeding from a head injury, another woman, TepVanny had a broken finger, and several more were left bruised. Over the last two months, villagers from BoeungKaklake have staged a series of peaceful protests demanding the authorities listen to their problems and discuss the ongoing land grabbing by the Shukakucompany, owned by CPP Senator Lao Mong Kim. To this day, however, authorities have failed to resolve the increasingly tense situation surrounding the land grab. Instead, they are using delay tactics, empty promises and have repeatedly used violence to disperse the villagers. HRTF calls for the leading authority figures that ordered and oversaw this morning’s violence against peaceful protesters to be suspended and investigated. Additionally, HRTF strongly urges the government and the Phnom Penh authorities to cease its intimidation campaign and begin an honest dialogue with the BoeungKak lake residents in order to resolve the ongoing land conflict. Beating the villagers and ignoring their voices won’t make the problems go away.
Mr. SiaPhearum, Secretariat Director, HRTF: 012 852 325
Mr. Am Sam Ath, LICADHO Monitoring Supervisor, 012 327 770
Statement from the World Bank on Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project
In Phnom Penh:
Bou Saroeun (855) 23-217-301 firstname.lastname@example.orgIn Washington:
Carl P. Hanlon (202) 473-8087 email@example.com 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 Boeng 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.
Jun. 28, 2011. Some 200 Boeng Kak residents gathered at the EU offices in Phnom Penh to petition the EU to put pressure on the Cambodian government to ensure the lake’s remaining residents are granted on-site housing. Ten community representatives later met with EU officials to submit their petition.
On Jun. 2011, some 80 members of the Boeng Kak Lake Community gathered at the funeral ceremony of a man who committed suicide by jumping into the lake on May 23, 2011. Mr. Pon Rina, also called San Samol, who was 38 years old, had lived in Village 24 since 1994. According to community members at the funeral, Mr. Rina committed suicide because of the heightened stress caused by the ongoing land dispute in the area. He left behind a son and elderly parents.
KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
Nation Religion King
The Phnom Penh Capital Hall
No. 563 ឆត. ចសម
Phnom Penh, July 13, 2011
The Lake Representatives, Srah Chak commune, Daun Penh district
Subject: Request for additional representatives to the Measurement Sub Committee for lake residents.
Reference: Letter dated on July 12, 2011 of the lake representatives.
Based on the above subject and reference, I would like to inform you that the request to norminate additional lake representatives such as: Ly Mom, Ros Srey Neang, Ech Srey Mao, Ly Chan Nary, Sat Sophy, Ngen Savoeurn, Meng Leang Chheng, Eng Sophy, Duong Bophary, Thach Soron and Pov Laim Eng to the Measurement Sub Committee in Boeng Kak is approved.
Therefore, please be informed and get ready in cooperation for effective results.
KEP CHUK TEMA
The Phnom Penh Capital City
– Council Ministers
– Ministry of Interior
– Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction
– “For information”
– Department of Land Management, Urbanization, Construction and Cadastral
– Daun Penh district
– Boeng Kak Development Technical Sub Committee
– “For implementation”
– File and Archive
MPP: Lake Development Construction Officially Started on July 11, 2011
Shukaku’s owners – Senator Lao Meng Khin and wife Chheung Sopheap
The Boeng Kak Development Project was officially opened its construction site on July 11, 2011 during a ceremony chaired by Governor KEP Chuk Tema, the high representative of Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia after a religious ceremony held in the afternoon of July 08, 2011.
Based on Lao Van, Sukaku Inc.’s representative, previously, Boeng Kak was a natural lake with total size of 133Ha both lake and surrounding area; among that size, 104Ha covered 10 villages, 303 groups situated in Sangkat Boeng Kak 1, Boeng Kak 2 of Tuol Kork district and Srah Chak commune of Daun Penh district. With the cooperation and approval from the Royal Government, the company had planned to turn this area into Boeng Kak satellite city based on its master plan approved by the Council for Development of Cambodia and the Capital Hall; this satellite city would be a business center, department store, conference halls, amusement parks, clubs, hotels, universities, hospitals, housing complex, resorts and other infrastructures. In the name of the company, he would like to convey his deepest gratitude to the Royal Government of Cambodia, especially to the lake residents who collaborate and volunteer to move from this area which expressed an understanding manner and helped to facilitate in the working process until it would be announced its commencement as of today in the purpose to push the economic development and uplift the Capital’s image as a Pearl City in Asia.
During that occasion the Governor had indicated that Phnom Penh was basin and lower than sea level caused by many lakes and the Capital was surely created by reclaiming many lakes such as Boeng Techo (today’s Central Market), Boeng Raing, Boeng Keng Kang, O Russey and other lakes. Some challenges is inevitable for the development of such reclaimed land; in the name of the local authority, we had facilitated and solved those issues according to the principle of the Royal Government in order to accomplished good results.
The governor had additionally mentioned that the development of Boeng Kak would also help to facilitate the progress of the traffic because this was a lake that was inaccessible from the western to the eastern and from the southern to the northern part of Phnom Penh. The development project of Shukaku Inc. would become a modern and harmonized satellite city, later, the governor officially announced the construction by started machinery operation.
Cambodia urged to drop charges against Boeng Kak Lake activists
Cambodian authorities must drop politically-motivated charges against four women involved in peaceful protests about the situation at Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, where almost 20,000 people have been forcibly evicted since 2008, Amnesty International said today.
Bo Chhorvy, Heng Mom, Kong Chantha and community leader Tep Vanny — were charged with “obstructing public officials” and “insult” – crimes that carry hefty fines and prison sentences of up to one year.
Police and security officials used excessive force to break up Monday’s protest involving about 50 women outside a government building in the Cambodian capital. At least six demonstrators were injured and two reportedly attempted suicide.
Women have been at the forefront of a campaign to halt the eviction of families to make way for development around the Boeung Kak Lake area in heart of Phnom Penh. Peaceful protests take place regularly.
“Cambodian authorities must stop targeting activists who are peacefully defending their communities’ rights,” said Sam Zarifi, director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Programme.
“The politically-motivated charges against Tep Vanny and the other women, used in an attempt to silence legitimate protest, must be dropped. Authorities must immediately halt the use of excessive force against peaceful protestors.”
The four women spent Monday night in police detention in Phnom Penh and were denied full access to lawyers and medical care. Today they were charged and released under court supervision.
“The authorities’ decision to charge the four women reflects a worrying trend in Cambodia, where the space for legitimate public debate is narrowing,” said Sam Zarifi.
“Those seeking to peacefully claim their rights and voice their concerns are finding it increasingly harder to do so. Such a trend has worrying implications for the peaceful development of the country,” said Sam Zarifi.
In 2007, the Cambodian government granted the Boeng Kak Lake area, through a land concession, to a private development company, Shukaku. Many of the 4,000 families that lived around the lake have been forcibly evicted.
Authorities announced in August that the 779 families that remained near the late would be allotted 12.44 hectares for development.
However, a number of families were excluded from this arrangement, and the homes of eight families were destroyed in September 2011. Meanwhile, the process of granting land in the onsite development area has stalled.
A Dhamma Talk on Vipassana and mindfulness meditation by Vipassana Gossalaya Jotannano Hong Keo, Vipassana Buddhist Master during a 10-Day Meditation & Vipassana Retreats at the Buddhist Meditation Center, Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam on the 11th Waxing Moon – 7th Waning Moon of Jeṭṭha B.E.2560 equivalent to June 15 – 26, A.D.2016 in Leverett, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in 2016.
ក្រុងសាវត្ថី Sāvatthī or Śrāvastī
Vipassana chanting by Meditation Master Ketodhammo Som Bunthoeun. Footages from 2016 Vipassana classes at the Buddhist Meditation Center – Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam in Leverett, Massachusetts, USA.
SAMDECH CHUON NATH
Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, the Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism. His Holiness was born on March 11, 1883; passed away on September 25, 1969
MAHA GHOSANANDA SERVICES
Extraordinary Funeral and Memorial Services for His Holiness Samdech Dr. Maha Ghosananda