Topic: Land IssuesPhoto Album: Preah Vihear Deadly Eviction Aftermaths
Published on November 22, 2007; A collection of photos taken the first and second day passed the deadly eviction of 317 families in Preah Vihear
Published on November 16, 2007; LICADHO is gravely concerned by the killings of two people during a land eviction in Preah Vihear province and calls for the government to quickly launch a full investigation into the shootings.
An initial investigation by LICADHO indicates the excessive use of force by the authorities, and the unlawful participation of soldiers in the eviction. In addition, the eviction violated an agreement signed by local authorities stating that the villagers could remain temporarily on the land until a resolution to the dispute was found.
The shootings occurred on the morning of Thursday, November 15, when more than 150 police, military police, soldiers and Forestry Administration officers violently evicted a group of 317 families who had settled on land in Choam Ksan district of Preah Vihear. According to eyewitnesses interviewed by LICADHO, the authorities made no attempt to warn or negotiate with the people on the day of the eviction.
Published on November 7, 2007; At around 4am on November 2, 2007, more than 300 mixed police forces with two mechanical excavators - led by Russey Keo Governor Mr. Khleang Huot - came under the cover of darkness to demolish houses belonging to 132 families living in Chong Chruoy village, Chruoy Changva commune, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh.
The mixed forces blocked access to the eviction site and prevented human rights workers as well as media from monitoring and reporting on the eviction. During the forced eviction, the authorities confiscated the camera of an observing Member of Parliament, H.E Nou Sarath from the Sam Rainsy Party and two cameras belonging to a staff member of the Housing Rights Task Force, a coalition of NGOs focusing on urban eviction issues.
Published on November 3, 2007; The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and The NGO Forum on Cambodia deeply regret the action taken by authorities of Khan Russey Keo to demolish houses and evict 132 families from Chong Chrouy village, Sangkath Chruoy Changva, Khan Russey Keo, Phnom Penh, on November 2, 2007.
Investigation of this event by civil society organizations disclosed that at approximately 5am, a mixed force of 300 men led by Khan Russey Keo Governor Khleang Huot blocked access to the eviction site to prevent human rights defenders as well as reporters from monitoring and reporting these actions. During this forced eviction, the authorities threatened and confiscated the camera of an observing member of national parliament. In addition, authorities hired workers to destroy people's houses and in doing this arbitrarily looted people's properties.
Published on October 25, 2007; The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) deplores the prison sentence given this week to a community representative involved in a long-running land dispute in Siem Reap.
Despite an overwhelmingly lack of evidence against her, 24-year-old So Socheat was convicted in the Siem Reap Provincial Court on October 22 of committing battery with injury and destruction of private property. Judge Kun Sokhal sentenced her to eight months in prison and a 500,000 riel (US$125) fine.
Although Socheat was accused of assaulting a police officer, the only evidence of battery with injury presented to the court was the opposite - that police officers had in fact beaten Socheat.
Published on October 17, 2007; LICADHO strongly condemns last night's violent abduction and deportation by authorities in Phnom Penh of land protesters who had come to the capital from Svay Rieng province. This action was unacceptable and a blatant violation of Cambodians' Constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Shortly before 7pm, approximately 80 police and military police - some armed with pistols - surrounded the group of about 200 Svay Rieng villagers camped in the park outside Wat Botum near the National Assembly. The villagers, who had only arrived at the park a few hours earlier, were forced into vehicles including two buses and sent back to Svay Rieng. According to witnesses, some of the villagers were beaten during the raid on the park, and two persons were later taken to hospital unconscious. NGO workers were blocked by authorities from entering the area, but heard cries coming from the villagers.
Published on October 4, 2007; On September 27, 2007 the Dey Krahorm community, in Phnom Penh organized a peaceful media conference which was attended by 200 villagers and 20 7NG security guards. The media conference was meant to bring attention to the situation of the Dey Krahorm community who are at risk of being evicted from their homes by 7NG. During the conference, community representative, Touch Raotha was involved in a scuffle with a 7NG security guard. Police are alleging that Touch Raotha damaged the security guard's camera phone when he attempted to take a photo of her.
Published on September 27, 2007; LICADHO is concerned that Phnom Penh police may seek to arrest a representative of the Dey Krahorm community on unjustified allegations of stealing or damaging a mobile phone.
The community representative, a woman, was involved in an incident with a 7NG company security guard during a news media conference by the Dey Krahorm community this morning. The security guard approached the woman, who was standing several meters away from the media conference, and attempted to photograph her with his mobile phone. The woman brushed the security guard's hand away, trying to prevent him from photographing her, and the phone fell to the floor. The security guard then left the area, without picking up his telephone, and made a complaint to local police that the woman had stolen his phone. The phone was later given to the police by Dey Krahorm community members.
Published on September 16, 2007; On the morning of 20 April 2007, a mixed group of some 150 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces personnel, military police, and civilian police armed with guns, electric batons, shields and tear gas forcibly evicted 105 families from Mittapheap District, Sihanoukville
Published on August 30, 2007; The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) condemns the manner and tactics used by the military police and 7NG in yesterday's eviction of homes at Deykrahorm, or Red Earth village in, Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh yesterday.
In particular, we reject the use of "construction workers" armed with crowbars and hatchets to disperse the villagers, the use of force in handcuffing individuals and decision by the police to not protect a villager when a 7NG employee physically assaulted her. Mr. Pa Socheatvong, the Phnom Penh deputy governor's description of the incident as a "small non-violent confrontation" (Cambodia Daily, August 30, 2007) is misleading and incorrect. Photographic and video evidence clearly show an excessive use of force by the police.
Published on July 27, 2007; At a time when the incidence of land grabbing is becoming more frequent in Cambodia and impunity for this crime is increasing for individuals with connections, wealth and power, three villagers are suffering from the results of such an unjust system. Initially, these villagers had been victims of a land grabbing dispute, however by the time their trial was over, they had been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, lost their farming land, and had been ordered to pay a fine of 1.5 million Riel (USD $375). These villagers have now lost the ability to provide for their families and to even pay the exorbitant fine, now that their land has been unjustly taken from them.
Published on July 10, 2007; On the morning of April 20, 2007, 13 residents from Village 6 in Sihanoukville's Mittapheap district were arrested after they tried to defend their homes against the onslaught of 150 police attempting to evict them and 105 other families. On Tuesday July 3, 2007, the 13 appeared before the Sihanoukville Municipal Court for their trial; the next day five were acquitted and nine were convicted (one in absentia).
Published on July 9, 2007; On the morning of 20 April 2007, a mixed group of some 150 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) personnel, military police, and civilian police armed with guns, electric batons, shields and tear gas forcibly evicted 105 families from Village 6 in Sihanoukville's Mittapheap District.
In the course of the raid, the security forces burned down 60 houses and completely demolished the remaining houses using heavy machinery. The evicted families were not permitted to remove possessions from their homes before they were destroyed and lost-inter alia- important documents which would have been essential in defending their case before the court. In the ensuing clashes between the authorities and the villagers two police officers and one military police officer, as well as a number of villagers, were injured. Thirteen villagers were arrested and later charged with "wrongful damage to property" (Article 52 UNTAC Law1)- charges which relate to the alleged destruction of police equipment used in the raid- and "battery with injury" (Article 41 UNTAC Law).
Published on July 9, 2007; In 1980, two families settled on plots of residential and farming land in Deum Popel village, Thmo Eth Commune, Kompong Tralach district, Kompong Chhnang province. Both families have lived and farmed continuously on the plots since that time as legally required for the right to land ownership in Cambodia. The families are now facing a criminal complaint for use of violence against another party who has also claimed ownership of the same land.
The trial was originally set for Monday July 9, 2:00 PM at the Kompong Chhnang provincial court. However, due to the absence of a key local official who was to testify for the prosecution that day, the trial was postponed to July 23rd, 7:30 AM.
Published on June 21, 2007; In addition to prison health program, LICADHO's doctors are often called for emergencies during land evictions and to relocation sites.