Cambodian Government Must End Human Rights Abuses in Microfinance Sector

As Cambodia’s human rights record is reviewed at the Human Rights Council on 8 May 2024, we urge UN Member States to recommend granting debt relief and implementing free education and healthcare services, in order to reduce debts and put an urgent stop to abuses linked to microfinance loans.

LICADHO, Equitable Cambodia, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, and FIAN Germany are releasing a series of infographics today in four languages to highlight the debilitating indebtedness faced by many Cambodians and the predatory tactics used by microfinance institutions and microloan providers to target vulnerable, poor and Indigenous communities.

UN Member States must hold Cambodia accountable during the Universal Periodic Review and make recommendations to immediately end human rights abuses in the country’s microfinance sector.

LICADHO, Equitable Cambodia, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, and FIAN Germany submitted a report to the Human Rights Council on these concerns. The submission can be accessed here.


Community youth leadership program under campaign ‘’Youth for Sustainable Environment”

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization conducted the community youth leadership program under the campaign ‘’Youth for Sustainable Environment” which was held on April 6-7th 2024 at Trapang Sangke community-based ecotourism. There were 30 people (F= 16) including LGBTQ+, Youth from 5 target STT’s community, Kouy indigenous ethnic and youth from various universities in Phnom Penh.

Urban Poor Photo Exhibition in 2024 On Housing and Life

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) is located in Phnom Penh. STT was founded in 2005 and officially registered in 2006 as a local NGO supporting urban poor communities. STT vision is urban poor and vulnerable communities receiving adequate housing, and improved living conditions and prosperity. To achieve this vision, STT has the mission to develop advocacy tools, empower, and support urban poor and vulnerable communities to obtain adequate and comfortable housing. 

On February 23, 2024 Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization (STT) was organized Photo Exhibition on Housing and Life at Champei Garden. The event was attended by donors, NGO partners, and urban poor communities in Phnom Penh.The photo exhibition is an activity undertaken by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization (STT) and these photos were taken by STT from 2022 to January 2024. 

These 60 photographs aim at highlighting challenges faced by urban communities affected by development, land insecurity, resettlement, lack of pre-arranged services and infrastructure in relocation sites, and forced evictions. The idea is to showcase to the public and stakeholders such challenges, to raise awareness, and work together to find solutions to fulfill their right to adequate housing. The exhibition also showcases the current state of the lakes in the city, and the environmental impact caused by filling the lakes.

Free the Lake

Since 1990, Phnom Penh has seen the infilling of 26 lakes, with 16 already lost to urban development, and more currently in the process. Urban development, including the construction of new satellite cities, has been the driving force behind the disappearance of these vital water bodies. Two prominent lakes, Boeung Tumpun (Boeung Choeung Ek) and Boeung Tamok (Boeung Kob Srov), are facing this issue. Boeung Tumpun spans 2,600 hectares in the southern region of Phnom Penh, across Khan Meanchey and Khan Dangkor districts, and even extends to Takhmao city in Kandal province. Boeung Tamok, the largest natural lake in the city, covers 3,239.7 hectares in the northwest near Win-Win Boulevard, across Khan Prek Pnov and Khan Por Sen Chey districts. In accordance with many studies, the infillings have serious repercussions: forced evictions, land disputes, employment disruptions, migration, and social inequities. Moreover, they compromise the city’s water filtration capabilities and alter natural water drainage, heightening the risk of floods during the rainy season.

Flooding in communities

In urban areas grappling with poverty, the rainy season often brings considerable hardship due to inadequate drainage or sewage infrastructure. Overflowing sewage creates a habitat conducive to the proliferation of germs and mosquitoes, resulting in health concerns like skin infections and dengue fever, as well as pervasive foul smells.

Moreover, the inundated streets pose significant challenges for residents’ mobility, particularly affecting children. To navigate these areas route to school, they must adapt by changing clothes and removing shoes to wade through contaminated waters. The flooding also heightens the risk of drowning, which discourages parents from pursuing work, further aggravating the community’s financial distress.


Cambodia is a country that is striving to achieve high middle-income status by 2030. The Royal Government has been making efforts to promote economic growth across all sectors. However, these development initiatives have led to forced evictions affecting poor and vulnerable communities. These communities have often been compelled to accept inadequate and unreasonable compensation for resettlement. According to the United Nations Guidelines on Evictions and Resettlement, evictions should involve genuine consultation, avoid disproportionate use of force, provide adequate and reasonable notice, and offer legal remedies. Unfortunately, some communities have faced eviction without full compliance with national and international laws. This situation has caused fear and displacement among affected communities, leaving them with insufficient resources for new construction and forcing them to live far from essential public services. In 2023 Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)’s report – The Phnom Penh Survey – highlights that there are more than 191 urban poor settlements in the city, living in poverty. Among these, 69% of communities are considered tenure insecure, and 29% face the threat of eviction. These communities hope that authorities will prioritize on-site development rather than eviction, or provide appropriate solutions in the confines of the law.


Communities, after moving from their previous settings, are often settled in new areas significantly distanced from the city and economic hubs. Regrettably, the compensation they receive often fall short of what is necessary to rebuild their homes or to invest in business ventures. This makes their new life even more difficult than before.

In relocation sites, community living conditions are subpar, with many residing in basic shelters. They face a severe shortage of critical public amenities such as electricity, clean water, education, and healthcare. Their distance from economic centers has led to dwindling incomes and mounting debts. Resettlement plans that overlook these essential needs only serve to deepen poverty and entrench a cycle of inadequate housing.

The United Nations Guidelines on the Right to Adequate Housing mandate secure tenure, access to essential services, affordability, thoughtful location, cultural respect, and adherence to tradition. International law acknowledges the right to adequate housing as a basic human right.

Capacity development

Education is very important for all walks of life. The right to education is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution Law of Cambodia and International Law. Some urban poor communities are facing land disputes, poor housing, and have no land title deeds. Those communities often do not understood land rights and some legal issues related to land tenure. To empower communities and enhance their capacity to address these issues, STT offers training on a range of topics. These include human rights, land law, systematic land registration, environmental challenges, and mapping, with a special focus on Circulars 03 and 06. ICT and online safety are also key components of this educational outreach, equipping community members with the skills to effectively engage with relevant stakeholders and seek support for their concerns. Moreover, the training aims to bolster community understanding of their rights, foster unity, and promote environmental stewardship. A critical aspect of the training is teaching communities how to adeptly use social media, enabling them to highlight and document the issues they face. Through these efforts, communities are better prepared to advocate for themselves and work towards positive change.

Small Scale Upgrading

Urban poor communities in Phnom Penh are grappling with economic hardship, substandard housing, deteriorating infrastructure, and insufficient sewer systems. These conditions pose daily challenges, as families lack the means to undertake essential repairs. Flooding is a recurrent issue, necessitating the construction of bridges for regular transit and adequate drainage to mitigate flood risk and dangers such as drowning. Furthermore, poor street lighting can lead to increased drug trafficking and a general sense of insecurity.

To confront these difficulties, it is imperative for communities to seek assistance from various parties, including the royal government, local authorities, and civil society organizations. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) is instrumental in driving positive change by providing essential small-scale infrastructure improvements, such as bridges, roads, sewers, solar lighting, and housing solutions. These initiatives are key to enhancing the living conditions of these urban poor communities.

Debate competition under the theme “Sustainable development should be centered around the environment and vulnerable individuals”.

27th February 2024, Phnom Penh. Congratulations to the opposing team for winning the first prize in the debate competition on the topic “should the lakes be developed or kept,” organized by STT with 39 participants from urban youth communities and young people from various universities.

1. The event aimed to provide young people with opportunities to participate in topics related to human rights, urban development, and environmental issues in Cambodia.
2. It also encouraged youths to engage in dialogue, raise issues, and propose solutions that promote a transparent, peaceful, and just development process.





75th International Human Rights Day under theme “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All Citizens”

From the 9th to the 10th of December 2023, around 400 rural and urban communities celebrated the International Day of Human Rights. These communities included Phlov Rothplueng community (Phnom Penh), Stueng Kambot Community (Phnom Penh), Smor San Community (Phnom Penh), Veal Sbov Community (Phnom Penh), Veal Entrey Community (Kampot Province), Meanchey Community (Svay Rieng Province), and Lor Peang Community (Kampong Chhnang Province). They engaged in various significant activities, such as community clean-ups and spreading messages about human rights and housing rights.

Furthermore, approximately 3,000 members of land and indigenous communities, unions, youth groups, civil society organizations, and human rights activists came together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of International Human Rights Day 2023 at Freedom Park in Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh. The event aimed to achieve the following purposes:
1. To strengthen the public understanding about the International Human Rights Declaration, it’s the enforcing instruments and Cambodia Constitution;
2. To increase the demand for justice and pushing for the reform
3. To increase people understanding how the justice affect to freedom and dignity of the people; and for CSO
4. Widen our CSO space through more active activities: marches and public assembly.

#STTCambodia #Urbanpoor #Poorcommunity #Landrights #Housingrights #Eviction #Relocation
#IHRD2023 #IHRD75

38th World Habitat Day Photo Gallery

Here is a photo gallery showcasing impoverished communities in Phnom Penh and various provinces. These communities celebrated World Habitat Day from October 1 to 7, 2023. Over 1,000 individuals, including community members, young people, and local authorities, took part in the celebrations. Some of the communities involved were Stoeung Kambot, Pongro Sen Chey, Reaksmey Samaki, Plov Rathpleung, Smor San, Chhmar Oeut, Satrey Klahan, Veal Sbov, Russey Sros, Kao Pi, Meanchey (Svay Rieng province), Veal Entre, Pong Rok, Thlan 100, Prey Peay (Kampot), and Lor Peang (Kampong Chhnang province).

The main activities included community banner rallies, environmental clean-ups, and raising awareness regarding the right to affordable housing by creating slogans. The main message revolved around “Clean Environment, Clean Community, Affordable Housing”.

#STTCambodia, #urbanpoor, #poorcommunity #landrights #housingrights #eviction #relocation​ #Stopfillingthelake #WorldHabitatDay2023-WHD2023


Debate competition under the theme ” Inclusive City Development “

7th July 2023, Phnom Penh. Congratulations to the opposing team for winning the first prize in the debate competition on “Is Inclusive City Development Really Appropriate for the Cambodian Context?” organized by STT with 50 participants from urban communities and young people from various universities.

1.The event aimed to provide young people with opportunities to participate in topics related to human rights, urban development, and environmental issues in Cambodia.

2.It also encouraged youths to engage in dialogue, raise issues, and propose solutions that promote a transparent, peaceful, and just development process.

#STTCambodia #urbanpoor #poorcommunity #landrights #housingrights #eviction #relocation #YouthDebate #InclusiveUrbanDevelopment

[:km]ស្ពានថ្មីនៅសហគមន៍ព្រែកតាគង់៣ [:en]New bridge at Prek Takong 3 Community[:]

New Bridge Is New Hope for Community

In September 2022, STT provided two new wooden bridges to two communities in Phnom Penh.   

This infrastructural support, came as an emergency response to the many challenges that the communities are currently facing, which includes recurrent flooding due to no proper sewage system. This posits a hindrance for living, daily errands, and travelling. Children are notably facing difficulties when travelling to school. Today, both wooden bridges have been built, and were inaugurated on October 2nd, 2022. The community’s representatives and members are very excited to have received the new wooden bridge for their community. They claimed the wooden bridge helps them when travelling in and out of the community, and children feel safe crossing the bridge when going to school.  

Below are the pictures before, and after building both wooden bridges.  

Banteay Sleuk Community After the Land Transfer to 7NG Development Area

This is the current situation of the Banteay Sleuk community after exchanging land to the 7NG development area. Each family received a plot of land measuring 4 by 15 meters. As of August 2022, it has been more than two years since the Banteay Sleuk community moved to a new location in this development area, which has seen some changes and improvements, such as the water system, electric system and the construction of a concrete street.   

However, the community still faces some challenges related to livelihood due to the remoteness of the area, which makes it difficult to find work. The community also took out loans from banks to rebuild new homes, making it especially hard for them. As a result, the community faces many difficulties.  Flooding is another issue  due to a lack of functioning drainage systems and inadequate basic infrastructure.  

Please be informed that the old place of Banteay Sleuk community is located in Village 4, Sangkat Tumnup Teuk, Khan Boeung Keng Kang, Phnom Penh (behind the Sovanna Shopping Mall.) The community has been displaced from Phnom Penh on the 11th July 2022, during the pandemic of COVID 19.  

Cycling Event Around Boeung Tamok Lake to Join World Environment Day 2022

On May 19, 2022, a group of more than 30 young people who love the environment participated in a cycling event around Boeung Tamok lake, coordinated by the organizing team of the World Environment Day 2022 with 15 associations and organizations. The event has three main objectives:

First, to raise awareness of the general situation, benefits, and challenges of Boeung Tamok lake;
Second, to promote the youth rights in environmental protection and Third, disseminate information to stakeholders, especially those who have the right to decide, and to consider stopping the cutting and contribute to the degradation of Boeung Tamok lake.
The event started from a community located on the east side of Boeung Tamok lake, then continued along the Win-win boulevard, and then into the central part of the lake before continuing on to the west and the north.

In this event, there have also been some problems, such as the blockading of the road by the Prek Pnov district authority at the central part of the lake, which did not allow the youth to see the view of the lake and the deep pit that was dug to fill the lake. In addition, our youth group also had to cycle across the water because of flooding.

Despite some obstacles, our young people expressed their appreciation for the dedication and for their energy and time in this event.
Please note that Boeung Tamok, also known as Boeung Kobsrov is the largest natural lake in Phnom Penh, located in the northwest of the city along Win-Win Boulevard and has a total area of 3239. 7 hectares, covering two districts. 6 villages and 25 villages. Around the lake, there are about 300 families and about 1,000 people living there, most of whom are involved in fishing, raising fish, planting lotus, farming, and small businesses at home. The lake was determined by the sub-decree in 2016 and by the end of 2021, the lake area has been cut and handed over to private individuals and public institutions at least 46 times, covering a total area of 2,094 hectares or 65% of the lake area.

Food package distribution to poor communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

From 7th to 11th July 2020, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) had distributed 530 food packages to 530 Phnom Penh’s poor families from Trapaing Raing, Smor San, Prek Takong 60 Meters, Samrong Thbong, Cheung Ek Group 3 and Cheung Ek Group 4. Each family received rice 40 kg, yellow noodle one case, canned fish one box (ten cans) and hand sanitizer (alcohol) one liter. The donation aimed contribute supports the target poor families and preventing risks during the Covid-19 pandemic.


STT continues to distribute those materials to its targeted communities in upcoming week

ICT Training With Poor Community Photo Gallery

This is a portfolio of media and ICT projects, including the Preak Takong 60m community, Trapeang Reang community, and Choeung Ek 4 community, which have been the target for more than a year and a half.

Prek Takong 60 Meters Community Photo Gallery

This is a photo of the poor community in Prek Takong 60m community, meters which STT has implemented such as providing training, providing materials for building houses and roads in flooded communities.

ផែនទីសហគមន៍ព្រេកតាគង់ ៦០ម៉ែត្រ ដែលផលិតដោយអង្គការសមាគមធាងត្នោត

Community Mapping, Housing Improvement and Urban Resilience Project

The project produces community maps for underprivileged communities which are under the threat of eviction, in order to improve land tenure security and encourage genuine negotiations with the authorities and private companies. In addition, the project conducts research on urban issues, especially land and housing challenges. Furthermore, it provides small scale upgrading assistance, including construction and renovation of housing, toilets, infrastructure and drainage systems as well as implementing waste management practices and creating alternative plans with a Climate Smart approach, in order to improve the livelihoods of poor communities in the capital.

គម្រោងផែនទីសហគមន៍ កែលម្អលំនៅឋាន និងស្រាវជ្រាវ
The small scale upgrading of a house in Trapang Rang, which was supported by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut



Community ICT and Media project

The project aims to raise awareness of urban issues such as land rights,  the right to adequate housing and human rights as well as environmental and social challenges within Phnom Penh. The project also works to enhance the capacity of community members in relation to the use of social media, through community trainings and promotes transparency and social accountability by producing and sharing information publicly. In addition, the project also facilitates live broadcasts of the “Poor Community” program on STT’s Facebook page, bimonthly.

Urban Voice Cambodia

Urban Voice Cambodia (UVC) was established in 2012 and is part of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut. UVC focuses on promoting urban development issues and is a vital platform used by the public, especially residents of Phnom Penh, to share local information or issues., Reports are submitted by the public, to STT’s staff, who are screen and then publish them on the UVC website, the UVC App and on UVC’s Facebook page. application

An STT community trainer is showing community members about using social media