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13 Okt 2021

Sorn Sarath, CamboJA

Cambodia: Villagers involved in a land dispute with company are forced to accept compensation while 9 representatives are charged with incitement following protests

"Kandal villagers report feeling pressured into accepting land compensation", 13 October 2021

A number of families affected by the new airport project in Kandal Stung district are still refusing to accept the state’s proposed compensation for their land, instead hoping that the upcoming commune elections will bring them a better solution. Others have decided to take the compensation, causing concerns that an ongoing court case against nine villagers is putting pressure on the community.

There are 11 families whose land has been directly affected by the airport’s runway and taxiway project, the site of which has since been cleared and kept off-limits to the public…

Lonh Vanna, whose sister is among nine villagers that have been charged with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances after a protest against the ongoing land clearances …, said that her family stood firm in not accepting the compensation until the price was better. Since the charges, though, she has changed her mind…

… According to Srun, the company has offered local families two choices of compensation: land exchange and a cash price for those families affected directly by the taxiway and runway, or a cash price of $8 per square meter for other families affected by the broader project.

… Soeng Senkaruna, a senior investigator at rights group Adhoc, said that people had been quiet since the nine community members were charged.

“They are now afraid to express their rights to demand what they want, and there are those who agreed because they may think it’s hopeless, while some still believe that they can accept a better solution,” he said…