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21 Mai 2021

Sorn Sarath, CamboJA

Cambodia: Land communities affected by new airport development project continue to protest for solutions; community representatives claim inadequate compensations

"Week-long airport protest continues as communities consider rights groups intervention", 21 May 2021

A number of families affected by the new airport project in Kandal province have continued to block the road after a week of protest. Dozens of people have protested … after the company developing the multi-billion-dollar project used tractors to clear their rice crops, damaging more than 1 hectare of rice fields.

Kheang Sokmean, a representative of those affected by the development, said that about 50 people have remained on stand-by at the disputed land during the daytime. At night, ten people stand guard to protect their land.

“For a week, no authorities or company representatives have come to talk with us, and they are acting like nothing happened,” he said…

The conglomerate Overseas Cambodia Investment Corp (OCIC), which is overseeing the $1.5 billion project alongside the government’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, has been repeatedly accused of encroaching on people’s land. The development covers 2,600 hectares in Kandal Stung district, Kandal province…

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn said that hundreds of families had already accepted the compensation and supported the government’s development project, while some other families kept demanding a higher price…

Vann Sophath, business and human rights project coordinator at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), said that people locked in land disputes or facing human rights abuses always seek help from NGOs when those issues are not resolved.

…“As NGOs, we can only provide them with consultation support, legal assistance and make recommendations to the government to provide them with an acceptable solution and respect their human rights.”