Topic: Land IssuesPress Release: Five Shooting Incidents at Land Dispute Protests in the Past Two Months Show Alarming Increase in Use of Lethal Force
Published on January 26, 2012; Cambodia's land-grabbing crisis has taken a disturbingly violent turn in the last two months, with at least five incidents involving armed forces opening fire during protests. A total of 19 residents were injured at the protests, including seven from gunfire.
Each of the incidents has been documented in video footage or photographs, but the perpetrators have to this day uniformly escaped punishment, exemplifying Cambodia's notorious system of impunity.
Published on January 21, 2012; On January 18, 2012, military personnel acting as security guards for TTY Co. Ltd opened fire on a group of villagers who had gathered to prevent clearing of their farmland by company's excavators in Kratie's Snuol district.
Four villagers were injured by bullets. None of the authorities present during the shooting proceeded to arrest the perpetrators.
Published on January 12, 2012; On January 3, 2012, the well-connected Phan Imex Corporation proceeded, with the help of armed state forces, to destroy the homes of some 300 Borei Keila families. This forced eviction was in violation of a legal agreement between the corporation and the Borei Keila residents that entitled all families living in the area to obtain on-site apartments.
Published on January 12, 2012; We, the ten undersigned civil society organizations, call for the immediate release of Borei Keila residents detained yesterday and since unlawfully detained at the Prey Speu Social Affairs Center. We also call for the permanent closure of the Prey Speu center, which has been proven time and again to be nothing more than an extra-judicial detention facility.
Published on January 3, 2012; HRTF, CYN, IDEA, BABC, CLEC, BKLW, ACRP, CCFC, FADP, PLCN and LICADHO strongly condemns today's violent destruction of the homes of some 300 families living in Phnom Penh's Borei Keila settlement.
The destruction of these homes marks yet another sad turn for a development that was once promoted as a model alternative to the eviction and off-site relocation of the Phnom Penh's urban poor.
Published on November 29, 2011; We, the undersigned civil society organizations, deeply regret the Phnom Penh authorities' decision to bring criminal charges against four Boeung Kak Lake residents following their participation in a protest on Nov. 28.
We do, however, commend Investigating Judge Chhay Virak's decision to release the accused under court supervision today.
The four female activists - Tep Vanny, Bo Chhorvy, Heng Mom and Kong Chantha - appeared before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today, and were charged with insult and obstruction of public officials, respectively, under articles 502 and 504 of the new penal code. If tried and found guilty, they face up to one year in prison and fines of up to 2 million riel.
Published on November 24, 2011; On November 22, 2011, Boeung Kak Lake resident Chea Dara leaped to her death from a bridge in Phnom Penh. She was actively involved in the lake residents' struggle against their wrongful eviction from the site. Although a deal was reached earlier this year to resettle most of the remaining families, Chea Dara's family was arbitrarily excluded. After years of fighting for justice, she lost hope. This video commemorates her life.
Published on November 21, 2011; In early November, some 300 Prey Lang network activists traveled deep into the Prey Lang Forest to observe land clear-cut by the CRCK Development Rubber Company, which had been granted an economic land concession in the area. The activists' goal was to prevent further illegal logging of the area. The journey took several days on foot. This slideshow documents their walk.
Published on October 20, 2011; Through Cambodia's infamous Boeung Kak Lake land grab, this LICADHO video takes a look at three incidents showing the impacts on women within communities affected by forced evictions. These abuses are perpetrated in the name of "development".
Published on October 18, 2011; On the morning of October 18, 2011, over 200 Boeung Kak lake residents peacefully gathered in front of the Phnom Penh court to show support for six of community representatives who were summoned by the court. The summons were in relation to complaints filed by local authorities, who accused the six of defamation and of making unlawful threats and insults.
Published on September 17, 2011; Yesterday witnessed the most violent forced eviction of Boeung Kak lake residents to date. Early in the afternoon, a hundred “anti-riot” intervention police officers and Daun Penh district security guards positioned themselves nearby homes of lake residents. Two excavators, protected by the armed group, proceeded in destroying homes of families arbitrarily disqualified from the 12.44 hectares of land given to the remaining lake families.
Later in the afternoon, as the excavators were on the move to destroy more houses, lake activist Suong Sophorn was savagely assaulted by a mob of intervention police officers who left him for dead after kicking and beating him with bricks and batons.
Published on September 16, 2011; The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) strongly condemns Phnom Penh's wilful misinterpretation of the government plan to resettle nearly 800 families threatened by redevelopment at Boeung Kak Lake. The municipality has arbitrarily excluded of over 10 percent of the threatened families, while simultaneously granting nearly two dozen land titles to CPP senator Lao Meng Kim - owner of lake developer Shukaku - within the dedicated "resettlement zone."
Published on August 18, 2011; CCHR, CLEC and LICADHO condemn today's mass detention of peaceful activists in Phnom Penh, in which police detained over 100 villagers for distributing environmental fliers.
The activists, who mostly hail from Cambodia's Prey Lang forest, gathered in 14 provinces and Phnom Penh to raise awareness over deforestation and economic land concessions that have been granted inside the forest. The Prey Lang network maintains that the preservation of Prey Lang is critical to the preservation of wildlife habitat and flora that is sacred to indigenous communities. They also claim that deforestation would contribute to climate change and ultimately affect their livelihoods.
Approximately 300 Prey Lang members gathered in front of the Royal Palace to conduct a religious ceremony early on Thursday morning. The network members then dispersed in small groups throughout the city to distribute fliers advocating for the preservation of the forest. Police and local officials immediately descended on each of the locations, confiscated the leaflets and detained participants in local commune offices for questioning and "re-education."
Published on June 10, 2011; LICADHO strongly condemns the violent confrontation yesterday in Kampong Speu province, where hundreds of armed police and villagers clashed over a land dispute. At least 10 people were injured on both sides, including seven seriously.
Regrettably, the incident may be a sign of things to come, as more and more ordinary Cambodians are pushed aside by a development agenda designed to enrich the elite.
Published on June 3, 2011; On May 25 2011, demonstrators came to Phnom Penh to protest the destruction of Prey Lang forest. Recent economic concessions have put at risk the livelihood of thousands of people.