1. Anger Is Blind…

    Two groups of evicted communities joined hands to demonstrate in front of the National Assembly this morning to protest, pointing their fingers to Kep Chuktema, former governor of Phnom Penh, who they are holding responsible for the mess they are in.

    One group was forcefully diverted by the police in its march towards the National Assembly when trying to pass in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.

    If the anger the evicted communities in Phnom Penh feel towards the authorities and in particular towards Kep Chuktema is understandable after all they have been going through over the past years, the idea to compare the governor to Kaing Guek Eav, alias ‘Duch’, the convicted head of the infamous S21 Khmer Rouge interrogation centre is rather unreasonable.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  2. Hearths Of Resistance And Refuge…

    Wat Chas, Wat Samaki Raingsey, Boeung Kak lake: they are a few of the places in the capital where evicted villagers from all over the country flock to to try and draw attention on their land issue. Unlike 10 years ago, when the evicted would gather in the gardens in front of Wat Botum, they now can count on assistance from grass roots land rights activists or buddhist monks who guide them through the steps to make their voice heard.

    A complete set of photographs will soon be available on my website…

    See also HERE

  3. What if?

    It is not going to happen yet, but what if each separate evicted community ended up on the same day in Phnom Penh to demonstrate, each one in front of one specific governmental institution? What would that be called? And will the additional 700 soldiers stationed in Phnom Penh be up to their task of maintaining order without sliding into excessive violence?

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  4. Endless…

    The Boeung Kak lake community keeps putting pressure on the Phnom Penh Municipality. This time 18 families who were evicted in 2010 during the filling of the lake with sand, started in 2007 by a development company, demand that land titles be issued according to the size fo the land they had and not to the size of their former house.

    At the same time a group of evictees from Kompong Chhnang who lost 100 hectares were protesting in the shadow of a tree in front of the Ministry of Justice.

    There seems to be no end to these land issues…

    This is a follow-up post on the ‘Quest for Land' story which is available as an iApp on iTunes and which reports on land issues in Cambodia since the year 2000 with texts by Robert Carmichael and over 700 photographs.

  5. Ditched Stalled and Stranded…

    About 200 villagers who were forcefully evicted from their land in Kratie are stuck at the Samaky Reangsey pagoda in Phnom Penh for over one month now. Threats to evict them from the pagoda are followed by promises of finding a solution. What else is there for them to do but resist, wait, sleep? They have nowhere to go anyhow, they have not much to expect. They are like thousands of other villagers in Cambodia who were pushed on the wrong side of a thin survival line. They are the discontented, frustrated citizens which could feed revolutions.

    If you want to know more about land issues in Cambodia, there is an app for that… ‘Quest for Land’, 10 years of land issues in Cambodia can be downloaded at THIS LINK.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  6. Things DO happen in the Kingdom of Wonder…

    Little by little, a vast majority of the ‘hard’ land titles are being handed over to their owner, with land management clerks painstakingly checking and sifting through huge piles of documents. There are about 7 million land plots to be allocated to their rightfull owner… Fortunately for them. They now have some sort of security. This administrative effort unfortunately cannot hide the fact that evictions and land grabbings do still take place.

    This is a follow-up post on the ‘Quest for Land’ story which is available as an iApp on iTunes and which reports on land issues in Cambodia since the year 2000 with texts by Robert Carmichael and over 700 photographs. Download it HERE.

    CORRECTION: the number of land plots is between 10 and 12 million (thank you Michael Hayes).

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  7. Borei Keila Also Marches…

    The Borei Keila community which was evicted in January 2012 (see HERE) and which lives in apalling conditions underneath the buildings they were promised an appartment in staged its first march towards the Municipality to air their complaints. They were met by rather inefficient police cordons on the way and, once they started blocking the sacro sanct circulation in front of the Municipality were pushed on the side by an important riot police force.

    This is a follow-up post on the ‘Quest for Land' story which is available as an iApp on iTunes and which reports on land issues in Cambodia since the year 2000 with texts by Robert Carmichael and over 700 photographs.

  8. Under One Umbrella…

    While the final results of the parliamentary elections were announced, Boeung Kak Lake (see here and here) and sympathizing communities returned to current affairs and staged a demonstration requesting the release of Yorm Bopha in front of the Supreme Court. Relying on their very long experience regarding demonstrations, they invested in umbrellas, sheltering them from both the sun and the rain.

    The app for iPad, ‘Quest for Land’ is still available here at the iTunes store.

  9. Every Word Will Be Heard…

    Every statement, every word will be heard by the Boeung Kak Lake community entangled in a 4-year struggle to keep their land (see here, here and here): Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh, stated on television that those left without a land title at Boeung Kak have no right to claim rightfull ownership. So the Boeung kak Lake community fired up the photocopy machines and demonstrated yet again in front of the Municipality building with cardboard signs carrying copies of the legal documents they have in their possession. Later they went to the Ministry of Interior to file a complaint.

  10. 1 from 2012 for 2013

    Not sure this was my best, but that was my 2012… CAMBODIA. Phnom Bat, Oudong (Kandal). 5/01/2012: Spilled rice grains at the relocation site for 120 families evicted from Borei Keila. The Phanimex company provided 25kg of rice to those permitted to stay.

    2013 here we come.


    Extended version here