Eviction, Compensation, and Debt Report 2023

This report collectively highlights the critical situation of forced evictions in Cambodia, revealing a gross disregard for international human rights law, national laws, and UN recommendations.

Section 1 details 12 cases of eviction across Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Takeo provinces between 2019 and 2022, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also emphasizes the critical importance of access to safe housing in preventing the spread of diseases like COVID-19. Despite government instructions to stay home during the pandemic, evictions occurred in various locations in Cambodia, particularly in Phnom Penh. These evictions are viewed as a violation of international human rights law, specifically the right to adequate housing, as highlighted by the UN special rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha. Farha emphasized the potential life-threatening consequences of eviction during a pandemic in a COVID-19 Guidance Note.

 

Section 2 reviews compensation provided to evicted urban poor communities in Phnom Penh from 2006 onward. Previous research by STT in 2021 revealed inconsistency in how compensation is offered and obtained for such communities, with significant variations in land plots provided without clear reasoning. The current research identifies inconsistencies in authorities’ approaches to compensating evictees, potentially leading to human rights violations, particularly in terms of citizens’ rights to adequate housing and compensation.

 

Section 3 underscores Cambodia’s international obligation to uphold the human right to adequate housing, prohibiting forced evictions and mandating the provision of resettlement sites with access to decent housing. Housing is emphasized as crucial not only as a basic need but also for safeguarding and advancing other human rights. The study exposes that individuals experiencing forced eviction without proper housing at resettlement sites incur debts, leading to food scarcity, forced child labor, and disrupted education. Continued hardships at resettlement sites due to insufficient housing and sanitation facilities create a concerning cycle of debt for victims of forced evictions. The study advocates for decisive action by Cambodian authorities to ensure every citizen can realise their right to adequate housing.

“Mother, if you are having a hard time, then I will just have to quit school and find a job,” said a daughter to her mother who has been evicted from the development area of Boeung Tamok.

In light of these findings, it is evident that immediate legal and policy reforms are urgently needed to uphold the right to adequate housing, provide fair compensation, and ensure the proper execution of resettlements in accordance with international human rights law. A comprehensive approach to addressing these issues is vital to preventing further human rights infringements.

 

You can download the report as a PDF file here! Khmer English

For further information please contact:

Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization

Signal: 089 666 013

Email: director@teangtnaut.org

 

Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Research Advocacy Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization

Signal: 012 464 500

Email: advisor1@teantnaut.org

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