Half a million Cambodian victims of land disputes and forced evictions
Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies ) - Since 2000, more than half a million Cambodians have been involved in conflict with the authorities regarding land and property; in the first months of 2014 over 2 thousand households across the country have been subjected to violent forced evictions. This is what Licadho activists denounce in an appeal to the government to put an end to land expropriations. The pro human rights group also criticize a directive promulgated in May 2012 , by Prime Minister Hun Sen, suspending all new land concessions and ordering a review of the ones already in place. The activists point out , has failed to "limit" the number of disputes.
Nel 2011 la Banca mondiale ha interrotto i finanziamenti alla Cambogia, dopo che le forze di sicurezza hanno collaborato all'esproprio violento nei confronti di migliaia di famiglie, nei pressi del lago di Boeung Kak, a Phnom Penh. Sui terreni era prevista la costruzione di un complesso immobiliare, nel contesto di una vicenda che ha avuto ampia eco sui media locali e internazionali.
Licadho director Naly Pilorge describes the latest figures as "shocking"
and adds that many of those involved in the conflicts face "huge and
long-term difficulties". Without
land, said the activist, they "have no means of subsistence" to be
able "to lead a decent life". In
addition, the government refuses to consider complaints from activists and NGOs
on forced seizures and land disputes, calling them " biased" because
"in the service of donor countries, which oppose the government agenda".
In 2011, the World Bank stopped granting funds to Cambodia after security forces cooperated against violent expulsion of thousands of families, near the Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh. A building complex was planned for the area and the episode was widely reported in local and international media.
Licadho activists urge the government to "really put an end" to the forced evictions and ensure "adequate and proper" compensation to those who have been victims of illegal land seizures . It is also the duty of the executive to promote reforms in the areas of land grants and compensation for past cases.
Disputes over land are a perennial problem in Cambodia, where rural farmers and city workers have been the object of conflict and controversy - according to UN officials - which can still undermine the stability of the nation. They date back to the dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge , in power from 1975 to 1979 , when the Maoist revolutionaries led by the murderous Pol Pot carried out mass expropriations of entire families. With the collapse of the regime, there was a long period of confusion and uncertainty over land rights, together with the formation of abusive communities following the return of the refugees in the '90s, after a decade of civil war.