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Cambodia: U.N. Criticizes Forced Evictions

(May 12, 2009) On May 6, 2009, Raquel Rolnik, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, expressed concern about the fate of 100 families in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who are under threat of forced evictions from their homes. She stated that there has been “an increase in forced evictions through[out] Cambodia accompanied by a systematic lack of due process” in the last year. (Forced Evictions Contravene Human Rights Standards, UN Expert Tells Cambodia, UN NEWS CENTRE, May 6, 2009, available at

Rolnik, who reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, pressed the Cambodian government to discontinue all group evictions and especially not to implement the administrative measures listed in a notice to a set of residents of the capital city. The residents involved are called the “Group 78,” a term that refers to a group of 66 to 86 families in Tonle Basak commune, in the Chamkar Mon district of the city. They are in danger of losing their homes and have been involved in a legal dispute over their land since 2004. (Id.)

The problem has been noted by the human rights group Amnesty International (AI). The group stated in 2008 that the Cambodian government had proceeded with evictions without due process, “at the behest of those who wield economic and political power.” Catherine Baber, director of the Asia-Pacific program of AI, stated “[i]t is clear that relevant laws are seldom and arbitrarily applied, and the authorities have not protected the human rights of people affected by forced evictions.” (Press Release, AI, Forced Evictiosn in Cambodia: Homes Razed, Lives in Ruins (Feb. 11, 2008), available at