Tag Archives: Beung Kak Lake

Beung Kak Lake Update

A scene of immense suffering in front of the Court of Phnom Penh. The victims of Beung Kak lake land concession to a senator of the ruling party cry out for justice. Six have been summoned by the court for defamation, threat and insult. Threat carries a sentence of 6months to 1 year.

I spoke to them the previous day. They are determined to fight till the very end.

I shared with them my 15 months fight with the Cambodian justice system.

They know what is awaiting them but what else is left but to face the Court.

The show of force and courage of the people in front of the Court of Phnom Penh was too much pressure for the prosecutor. The questioning by the Court had to be postponed. The people vowed to return in bigger number.

Mu Sochua, MP

“I do not fear death; I fear political silence against injustices”
-Malalai Joya, MP Afghanistan

Donate to Mu Sochua’s Justice Fund

Ground Broken Where a Lake Once Stood

Monday, 11 July 2011

Ground Broken Where a Lake Once Stood

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh

Photo: Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer

Children sit on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping fill into Boeung Kak lake, (File photo).

The city develops with the rich. But we are poor.

The controversial development of Boeung Kak lake saw a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, despite months or even years of protest from villagers who said they didnt agree with a company buyout or resettlement plans.

The development company, Shukaku, Inc., which is owned by a ruling party senator, held its groundbreaking ceremony even as Phnom Penh authorities announced they would not consider a proposal by villagers to have a portion of the development set aside for them.

The ceremony marked a defeat for residents who have helplessly watched Shukaku pump fill from the bottom of the Tonle Sap into the lake, sending a rising tide of water into neighborhoods and replacing a massive body of fresh water in the north of the capital with sand.

Steadily evicted, bought out or flooded from their homes, angry residents have made numerous protests in front of City Hall and most recently filed complaints to the US Embassy, the EU and the British Embassy.

Im disappointed in the local authorities, for we have always believed in them to solve this land dispute for us, said Su Sophal, a 33-year-old resident of the lakeside community. But now the city has denied my proposal. I have no belief left in the city. I do not know that I can depend on someone to help solve this problem.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said the city had not made leadership mistakes, but he acknowledged there remained complications for villagers who refuse to leave.

We will continue to solve some remaining problems with the residents at Boeung Kak lake, he said. My officials and I have not done anything wrong from the principle of government.

Lao Van, a representative of Shukaku, said at the ceremony the company had followed its development plan since 2007.

The master plan for Boeung Kak development includes a trade center, a modern supermarket, conference hall, entertainment, nightclub, hotel, university, hospital, residences, pleasant and attractive places and infrastructure, he said.

Such plans were little consolation for villagers like Pol Srey Pov, 36, who said she considered herself a legal landholder whose rights were violated by the citys 99-year-lease with the developer. She and others had hoped to have a plot of land 4 meters by 16 meters on some 15 hectares of the 133-hectare development.

Villagers scuffle with police over Boeung Kak

The crime the women committed: defending their right to live in dignity. That is too much for the Phnom Penh authorities.

Women Building Democracy – Is it our Business?

When watching and hearing about the revolution that is shaking decades of dictatorship in the Arab world, I ask myself : When in Cambodia?

I have been in this business of building democracy for more than two long decades. Is there hope for change?

When is not the first question to ask.

I believe that the first question is: How?

Is the How happening?

I believe that the How is the grassroots movement which is happening on a small scale here in Cambodia, but independently in different parts of the country. When our farmers can walk over 200kilometers from the North-West to the city to lodge their complaints, I think the government sees this as the beginning of a big movement. This explains the cracking down on demonstrators- almost always with violence and even against women and children.

We must nurture these movements by fighting for liberties and freedoms. Women have a huge part in this fight as women are first to be affected by injustice, violence and discrimination.

We must join our sisters at Beung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh whose families have been totally destroyed along with their homes and belongings, because of the so called ‘development’ which mainly consists land grabbing by the state. we must join the 10,000 residents of this community when they demonstrate. We have been silent and watching from afar.

Next time they are demonstrating, let us join them by the thousands!

Women Can do it!For those who have access to internet and are active on Facebook, make the change happen faster by listening to Women’s Voices-Women’s Choices, every Sunday from 11Am-12PM on 93.5FM. Express your opinion, make yourselves heard. Give the young women producers and staff your support.

Change cannot happen when we are comfortable inside the safety of our homes. Make yourself heard!