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Cambodia: Report reveals human rights abuses & environmental devastation from private developments

New report by Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Cambodia Youth Network (CYN), Equitable Cambodia (EC), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) reveals human rights abuses and environmental devastation as private developments threaten to flood Phnom Penh.

More than one million people across Phnom Penh are facing the risk of increased flooding and over one thousand more families are at risk of evictions, loss of income and food insecurity as the ING City project and other unsustainable developments destroy the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands in the capital’s south.

The research report, Smoke on the Water: A human rights and social impact assessment of the destruction of the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands, has found that millions of Cambodians will likely be affected by the destruction of the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands by ING Holdings and other private corporations including Chip Mong, AEON Mall, Orkide Villa, and Borey Peng Huoth. Human rights and environmental groups surveyed 469 families living in or using the wetlands area and its rivers. The resulting report sheds light on the potentially devastating impacts of destroying 1,500 hectares of wetlands that sustain local communities and play a vital role in Phnom Penh’s waste management and flood prevention.

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Article
27 July 2020

Cambodia: Human rights NGOs' report shows that one million Cambodians risk flooding as wetlands destroyed by private developments

Author: Rina Chandran, Reuters

"Flood risk for one million in Phnom Penh as wetlands destroyed", 27 July 2020

More than one million people in Phnom Penh face the risk of increased flooding and loss of livelihoods as wetlands in the Cambodian capital are destroyed to build apartments and industries, human rights groups warned ...

Developments - including the ING City township - will reduce the Tompoun wetlands to less than a tenth of its 1,500 hectares (5.8 sq miles), and lead to the eviction of more than 1,000 families who live on its edge, activists said in a report.

It would also impoverish thousands of families who farm and fish in the wetlands in the city of 1.5 million people.

“The wetlands sustain local communities and play a vital role in Phnom Penh’s waste management and flood prevention,” said the report from Equitable Cambodia, LICADHO, the Cambodian Youth Network and land rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)…

Lakes and wetlands such as floodplains, mangroves and marshes regulate water flow, minimise flooding, purify water and replenish groundwater, said Diane Archer, a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Bangkok.

“City authorities should recognise wetlands as an important resource to be protected and integrated into the urban environment,” she told …

Dredging the more than 100 million tonnes of sand needed for infilling poses added risks to communities and the environment, said Eang Vuthy, executive director of Equitable Cambodia.

“Given that millions will be affected, in-depth studies and public consultations are needed,” he said…

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Article
27 July 2020

Cambodia: Human rights NGOs' report shows that one million Cambodians risk flooding as wetlands destroyed by private developments

Author: Rina Chandran, Reuters

"Flood risk for one million in Phnom Penh as wetlands destroyed", 27 July 2020

More than one million people in Phnom Penh face the risk of increased flooding and loss of livelihoods as wetlands in the Cambodian capital are destroyed to build apartments and industries, human rights groups warned ...

Developments - including the ING City township - will reduce the Tompoun wetlands to less than a tenth of its 1,500 hectares (5.8 sq miles), and lead to the eviction of more than 1,000 families who live on its edge, activists said in a report.

It would also impoverish thousands of families who farm and fish in the wetlands in the city of 1.5 million people.

“The wetlands sustain local communities and play a vital role in Phnom Penh’s waste management and flood prevention,” said the report from Equitable Cambodia, LICADHO, the Cambodian Youth Network and land rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)…

Lakes and wetlands such as floodplains, mangroves and marshes regulate water flow, minimise flooding, purify water and replenish groundwater, said Diane Archer, a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Bangkok.

“City authorities should recognise wetlands as an important resource to be protected and integrated into the urban environment,” she told …

Dredging the more than 100 million tonnes of sand needed for infilling poses added risks to communities and the environment, said Eang Vuthy, executive director of Equitable Cambodia.

“Given that millions will be affected, in-depth studies and public consultations are needed,” he said…

Read the full post here

Article
27 July 2020

Cambodia: NGOs' joint report shows that one million Cambodians are under threat from private developments of wetlands

Author: Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

"One million Cambodians under threat from development of vital wetlands – report", 27 July 2020

The destruction of critically-important wetlands by politically-connected developers in Cambodia threatens to flood more than one million Phnom Penh residents, ruin the city’s wastewater system, force hundreds of families from their homes, and trigger environmental devastation, a new report has warned…

But a new report says that in 2004 developers, acting with government backing, began to gradually destroy the 1,500-hectare wetlands, filling them with sand dredged from the Mekong and Bassac rivers to prepare for the construction of a vast 2,500 hectare satellite city, dubbed “ING City”, the largest development in Cambodia.

The damning report released … warns the development associated with ING City and other projects will destroy 90% of the wetlands, causing untold environmental damage and the potential eviction of hundreds of families.

… “It will not just cause problems for the environment and flooding, but also the livelihood of the people who are living around the lake,” Eang Vuthy, executive director of Equitable Cambodia, told ...

A … analysis of corporate records and government documents reveals that some land at Boeung Cheung Ek was leased to people connected to Hun Sen and his government.

One sub-decree gave 37 hectares of land at Boeung Cheung Ek to a company named Orkide Villa Co Ltd, which lists Hun Mana, one of Hun Sen’s daughters, as a director and chair. 

Sophal Ear, an associate professor at Los Angeles’ Occidental College, said the wetlands were “nature’s way of protecting Phnom Penh”…

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