Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eviction - Dey Krahorm

Yesterday we went to Meta House with 3 of the young people from CCH – It was supposed to be an evening for “Khmer Kids” – the idea being that NGOs dealing with kids would show documentaries and get together... An eviction of residents living not too far from our house (Dey Krahorm) instead took precedence as the topic for the evening. I had been to the eviction site with the children from the Smile Photography project when I took them there to take pictures. Here are some of my pictures from the district. These people's homes and businesses are now flattened.

It was a good documentary and the young people from the evicted district spoke in a very moving way about their experiences. It was interesting to hear about the eviction which has made front page news in the English newspapers here but not the Khmer ones (but this is not surprising).

The eviction is the result of a company called 7NG who has effectively been given land by the government and then who has then evicted the residents with force (a kind of “compulsory purchase order” but without the “purchase” bit and without any form of reasonableness!). Although the dispute has been going on for years it is reported that people were only given hours to get their things together before they were physically forced out and their homes bulldozed. Last night we were told how 500 men supported by police forced the residents to leave and immediately destroyed the area. We were told how one women begged to stay as her husband was sick and could not move but she was arrested, handcuffed and beaten.

I understand that people who own 7NG have government links/are in the government but that is how things tend to work around here. Someone suggested a petition as a way to help. Nice sentiment but these people are the type of people who beat and drag old ladies from their homes they are not the type who care about the “force” of petitions! I’m not sure I’d write my address next to my name if I signed one either otherwise I may not have such a happy time here.

Sadly, this is a typical news story here - people being evicted without regard for their human rights as land prices are so valuable and those in charge are capable of exploiting their position over the poverty stricken and the vulnerable to make a quick buck. They talk of "tidying the town" on the basis it was a shanty town but it was not. It had houses and businesses with some people living there having called it their home for decades.

You can read more on the eviction of the residents here:

1 comment:

Jon Bower said...

Hi Michelle
Glad to see that at least over here the compulsory purchase system is slightly democratic! Makes me realise that if we think it is draconian over here it is nothing like how it operates where you are.
catch up soon