Steung Kambot is an urban poor community located in Lor Kam Bour village, Svay Pak commune, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh. There are 210 households, 244 families, and 847 community members (437 females). They have lived there since 1979 and continue to live there to this day.
Because some of the community’s houses were located along Street 1003, Russey Keo authorities did not provide land titles, nor did they recognize their land tenure. Furthermore, authorities referred to the community as a community living on public state roads. Despite having lived there since 1979, the community never obtained any official documentation to act as proof for their settlement and land titling. The community members lack confidence to advocate for their livelihoods and land tenure. From 2020 to 2021, the community suffered from the widening of the 30-meter road, and they still live under fear of imminent eviction, which could potentially have them relocate far from their original settlement.
Intervention by STT
Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) went to observe and discuss the community’s challenges. After hearing their problems, STT implemented a project with the community. The project included training on the Land Law, Circular 03/06, Human Rights Principles, Advocacy and ICT skills. Now the community understands such issues better and have developed more confidence and courage. People in the community have become united and advocate very seriously about their land issues to find a solution.
More recently, the community members organized a public march to an event at the building of the Ministry of Land Management, and Urban Planning and Construction, where the Prime Minister presided. The community members just wanted to raise two points: on-site development, and land titling. The Khan authorities said that the campaign was illegal since the community residents had not submitted requests to relevant local authorities.
Result/ Outcome/ Change
As a result of STT’s intervention, the community members now have the capacity to lead community and advocacy activities more independently, with confidence. From September 2020 until now, the community has submitted five petitions to four ministries and one letter to the Prime Minister’s cabinet seeking intervention in their land settlement. In addition, on 29 October 2021, they submitted their letter to the Ministry of Justice and the relevant Anti-Corruption Unit to request intervention on their land issue. Mr. Makara received an invitation from the Russey Keo district administration to discuss the community’s land situation.
However, Mr. Sar Makara refused to attend the meeting with Mr. Prach Seiha, Deputy Governor of Russey Keo District, because Mr. Sar Makara stated that this meeting could take place only with the participation of at least 10 to 12 members of the community’s committee.
Community representatives went to the Ministry of Justice and Anti-Corruption Unit for following up the petition
In October 2021, Community members (244 families) of Steung Kambot community conducted a campaign to request the government to look at their land issue. The community blocked the street to force the authority to consider their land problem. One of the community leaders, Mrs Long Poch said “SuSu (keeping fighting for land rights)! I will die on the land”.
Authorities of Russey Keo district finally conducted a meeting with the community on the 11 November, 2021 to discuss with the community on the issues and to find solutions. More than 200 Community members of Steung Kambot community met with Mr. Ek Khun Doeun, the governor of Khan Russey Keo, to discuss and find a solution for their land issue.
Another community representative, Mrs. Reoung Oun said that “We, the community members have been living here for 30 years without a land title, but the Borey (gated-community) company has only been developing for 3 to 5 years, and getting the land title, this is very unfair for the communities.”
The community members will continue to advocate by conducting advocacy events at both local and national levels, including the follow-up of submitted petitions to relevant government’s ministries and institutions.