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24 Apr 2023

Sorn Sarath & Runn Sreydeth, CamboJA

Cambodia: Over 500 families involved in disputed land with company developing new airport submit petition to authorities seeking solutions as eviction looms

"500 Kandal Families Petition Authorities to Halt Evictions for Airport Development", 24 April 2023

Hundreds of families facing displacement from a $1.5 billion airport project in Kandal province petitioned the provincial governor …, requesting authorities grant them land titles and allow them to continue living on the land.

“Because we have all been living here for long years and our children can go to school, and [we are] near the hospital and other public services,” the letter read.

More than 500 families from four villages in Kandal Stung district’s Kandok commune and Takmao town’s Kampong Samnanh commune signed the petition.

One Kandal Stung resident, 36-year-old Muth Chansophany, said she met with provincial deputy governor Nouv Peng Chandara and asked for him to spare her community’s houses around the site of the airport development project…

… Kandal provincial deputy governor Nouv Peng Chandara said that authorities had accepted the petition and met with the petitioners but said he could not comment on the outcome…

Chiv Kok Say, who is in charge of land acquisition for the new airport, told … that infrastructure would need to be developed in the area encompassing the families’ homes to avoid flooding of the airport during the rainy season…

… Human rights NGO Licadho’s Operations Director Am Sam Ath said that the development for the airport requires the input and participation of people.

“Development must align with human rights, respect, and a solution that is transparent and fair,” he said. “It is a good solution if the authority could cut these homes from the development site for residents since it reduces the impact on people’s livelihood.”