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New deadline set for Borei Keila villagers

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The villagers have been told if they do not accept compensation by the deadline, none will be offered again. KT/Mai Vireak

Phnom Penh municipal authorities decided yesterday to extend the deadline for remaining Borei Keila residents by two weeks for them to accept compensation and vacate their land.

The municipal court said that after this delay, legal action will follow.

The delay was announced after a meeting between 7 Makara district authorities and more than 30 families from the Borei Keila community.

Sar Sorn, a representative for community residents, said the goal of the meeting was for authorities to remind residents that the deadline had already expired. However, authorities agreed to extend the deadline by two weeks for further negotiations.

“The district governor said that if we still refuse to accept, the court would take legal action. But we are not afraid: the government promised to build ten buildings for the people and only built eight. How can we accept this?” she said.

Ms Sorn said remaining residents are refusing to leave the site and want the government to address the issue like they did for former White Building residents, who received fair compensation before their building was demolished.

Lim Sothea, 7 Makara district governor, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The community wants the original contract upheld and refuse to leave their land. KT/Mai Vireak

Phnom Penh City Hall issued a notice on December 8 to 11 Borei Keila families who did not accept compensation to accept it within two weeks. If they failed to meet that deadline, they would lose the right to any compensation, it said.

One day after the deadline, City Hall also dealt with 30 families still living in old buildings in Borei Keila. Ten families were moved to Andong village, ten received money, and ten did not receive any compensation at all because they did not have homes in Borei Keila.

As many as 34 civil society organizations and land communities in Phnom Penh and other provinces released a joint statement calling for the city hall to drop the deadlines and attempt to resolve the case and seek an agreement in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

In 2003, businesswoman Suy Sophan was granted the right by the government to develop the Borei Keila community. Ms Sophan promised to build ten buildings for 1,776 families, but her company only built eight and later forced residents to move to live in Kandal province’s Ponhea Lueu district.

However, some residents still live in old buildings or near the area’s garbage dump to protest the decision.

City Hall officials claim they have already dealt with more than 90 percent of residents, and that only a small number of citizens have yet to receive compensation.

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