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Amnesty calls on Cambodia to end 'forced evictions' at Angkor


Amnesty International on Friday urged Cambodia to immediately end "large-scale forced evictions" of the 10,000 families residing...

Amnesty International on Friday urged Cambodia to immediately end "

large-scale forced evictions

" of the 10,000 families residing at the Angkor temple site in the north of the country.

At the end of 2022, the Cambodian government accelerated the relocation of families living on this archaeological site, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to land located 25 kilometers from Angkor, formerly dedicated to rice cultivation.

'Implicit threats'

This relocation program, say the authorities, aims to protect the integrity of the site, threatened by the expansion of the local population, by the waste generated and the excessive use of water.

If the government maintains that the inhabitants fully agree to be relocated, the international organization denounces “

implicit threats

” to which the populations are exposed in the event of refusal.

These are disguised and large-scale forced evictions.

People were pressured to volunteer and made to fear reprisals if they refused to leave or challenged the deportations

,” said Ming Yu Hah, deputy regional director of Amnesty in a statement.

In addition, the people affected by this program were not consulted in the rules, and were not warned sufficiently in advance.

Read alsoIn Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen muzzles the free press

In detail, the rehoused people receive a right of ownership on a plot of 20 meters by 30, 350 dollars, a health card and sheet metal for the roof of their future house which they must build.

The Cambodian authorities must immediately put an end to this harmful eviction campaign which seriously threatens to impoverish thousands of families

,” added Ming Yu Hah.

Long Kosal, spokesperson for the public body managing the site (Apsara) declined to comment on Amnesty's statement.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled the kingdom with an iron fist for nearly 40 years, has warned that the temples of Angkor will be removed from the world heritage list if villagers are not relocated.

According to Unesco guidelines, relocations must be carried out with the consent of the people concerned, and local communities must be the primary beneficiaries of tourism.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-31

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