The Statement of World Habitat Day 2023

On the 38th World Habitat Day, we, the people from the land and housing communities in Phnom Penh and the provinces, are facing insecurity regarding land and housing due to inadequate development. We are concerned about forced evictions and insufficient compensation, as we have historically endured such hardships. The Cambodian Constitution, specifically Article 44, guarantees the right to own property and proper housing for all citizens. Additionally, international human rights law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, guarantees the right to adequate housing.
During the week of October 1-7, 2023, in commemoration of World Habitat Day, over 1,000 community members, youth, and local authorities from 16 communities in Phnom Penh and other affected provinces gathered under the theme of “Housing Justice and Inclusive Development.” This event aimed to address the violations of land and housing rights.
On World Habitat Day 2023, we urge the government to take the following actions:
– The Royal Government should respect and protect the rights of impoverished individuals to live with decency and dignity, in line with other citizens.
– The Royal Government must effectively enforce the law and cease forced evictions, violence, and judicial oppression, particularly targeting land and housing activists.
– The Royal Government, along with authorities at all levels, should prioritize the right to adequate housing for comprehensive development.
– All development projects should conduct assessments of their social, economic, and environmental impacts, paying special attention to vulnerable populations.
– Local authorities should expedite the issuance of residence cards, family books, and equity cards to land community members lacking access to social services.
– Phnom Penh Capital Hall should provide infrastructure and improved services in impoverished residential areas, including drainage, garbage collection, and connection to state water and electricity networks.
– Relevant government authorities must ensure that all development processes adhere to the principles of the rule of law, including openness, transparency, accountability, and stakeholder involvement. Affected individuals, in particular, should have a voice in discussing concerns and potential resolutions for the benefit of all parties involved.

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