Land Evictions in Cambodia

The Land Evictions in Cambodia are a crises that many poor people in Cambodia are facing as their government forces them from their rightfully owned land and into abject poverty, hopelessness and for some, death. Read more below…

Land Evictions in Cambodia, forced evictions in Cambodia, land grabbing in Cambodia, Cambodia's land crisis

Phnom Pen

In Phnom Pen I learned the horrors of Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of Cambodians,  many of who’s “wrongs” were simply being too educated, were taken by the paranoid Khmer Rouge government.

Here they were tortured, interrogated and imprisoned until they could be taken to the

Land Evictions in Cambodia, forced evictions in Cambodia, land grabbing in Cambodia, Cambodia's land crisiskilling fields nearby where babies were used as target practice and people were buried alive.

Besides a lucky 8, who used their trade to keep them in demand, virtually everyone taken to this prison was eventually killed.


The Khmer faithfully photographed and recorded each of their, estimated 20,000 victims

…and these hunting faces now stare at you from the walls which once held them captive.

The question is -is today that much different for the people of Cambodia fighting against a government that has it’s own interest rather than the interest of the people to fight for.

Land Evictions in Cambodia, forced evictions in Cambodia, land grabbing in Cambodia, Cambodia's land crisis

A Day in the Emergency Room of Camette Hospital

I was also able to spend a day in the emergency room of Camette Hospital (3 Monivong, Phnom Penh), one of the many hospitals in Phnom Pen.

It was very small: one room with about 10 patients; no life support machines or fancy gadgets…

CPR was being performed on a crashing patient when I arrived

– there was no bustle or excitement – the other patients laid there and watched-

…the patient was soon pronounced dead.

Results of Land Evictions in Cambodia

While I was there a man, who had been badly beaten, was brought to the ER.

I assisted in suturing up a deep laceration on his skull.
Land Evictions in Cambodia, forced evictions in Cambodia, land grabbing in Cambodia, Cambodia's land crisis
The government had ordered a surprise eviction of the poor communities around Boeung Kak Lake.

This man, Suong Sophorn, who I found out later is a resident of Boeung Kak Lake and an activist against the evictions…

-was trying to collaborate forces to protect the homes of his friends…

-when the police went after him and beat him to the state he appeared in.

Human Rights + Land Evictions in Cambodia

At the hospital I met one of the LICADHO human rights activist from Canada.

She had been at the scene and recorded the entire episode.

I also was able to sit and talk with her about what was going on in Cambodia.

This was in the news that same day: Cambodia Urged Halt Boeung Kak Lake Forced Evictions Phnom Penh Sept 2011

Land Evictions in Cambodia, forced evictions in Cambodia, land grabbing in Cambodia, Cambodia's land crisisThe “democratic” government, many of whom were active participants in the terror reign of the Khmer Rogue, have been “land grabbing” from the poor throughout Cambodia for years now.

The people are offered next to nothing for their land and when they refuse they are extracted by force and dumped into swampy, unwanted land.

Their land is then “sold,” basically given, to high ranking officials, the Chinese and to other commodities that serve in filling the pockets and power of a few.

Many Cambodian’s claim that the government and all that is occurring in Cambodia now, is worse than it was in the days of khmer reign.

Land Evictions in Cambodia RELATED LINKS:

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Thanks for reading Land Evictions in Cambodia!


  1. I didn’t realize this was a problem in Cambodia… great insights and info educating others around the world. It’s really unfortunate when power and politics takes advantage of the poorest… and crazy how it strips the dignity and hope from the already poor to make them poorer and more hopeless. Those videos are very eye-opening.

  2. That documentary you have was excellent -very eye-opening. It is sad to see the injustices that people in other countries including Cambodia have had to endure. Another video I saw:

    …and I just read this: (maybe the pressure will help instigate change)
    from 9 August 2011
    World Bank blocks Cambodia loans amid Boeung Kak row
    “The World Bank has stopped loans to Cambodia amid a dispute over the forced evictions of thousands of people.

    The organisation, which provides up to $70m (£43m) in loans for Cambodia each year, said it would not resume lending until the government settles the row.

    Ministers have allowed a property developer to fill in a huge lake in the middle of Phnom Penh to build luxury flats and upmarket shops.

    The development has destroyed villages and forced thousands from their homes.

    Many more still face eviction, as the building project gathers pace. …” from…

  3. Hello Shelly,
    right now I’m doing a photographic work about this issue. I’m living in Kratie, so if you are around this area, you are invited to visit me (and my family). 18.+19.11 I’ll be in Phnom Penh, if you are interested, we can meet and talk about forced eviction and land grabbing.


    • Hello Sven,

      Wow! Thank you for such an incredible offer! I would SO love to visit you and your family and see the wonderful work you are involved in! Unfortunately I am in Laos no and my time is running out – I will be heading back to the US for thanksgiving. Man! though, I really have loved to see what you are doing and learn more about the evictions in Cambodia. Do you have your work online? If so please send me the link!!! How long are you guys living in Kratie? Keep up the wonderful work!


  4. I´ll stay until April, then I go back to Spain. When I finished my work (I guess in June next year) it will be published on my web and my association
    Nice travels and good way home!

    sven recently posted..Este Domingo: La DiligenciaMy Profile

  5. There is something that your readers can do to help make a difference…
    Click here to Send the Vietnam Primer Minister a message to End the Land Evictions in Cambodia has a draft of a letter you can modify and send online to the Prime Minister.
    The more people who are angry and outraged at the mistreatment of other people, the more we can collectively make a difference!
    Thanks for your post to help inform others. Jason

  6. I’ve bookmarked, Dugg, and I joined the RSS subscription. Thanks! .

  7. I suggest adding a “google+” button for the blog!

  8. Those videos are so moving. How do the people allow the government to do this?! it is so wrong. I think that lawyer in the movie was inspirational and I hope the world politicians help to change this.

  9. As I was reading about this issue, I also found this article- (I wish more people knew about this issue and other problems like this in our world. -Thanks for your post!) -monica
    Cambodia: Women hit hard by wave of forced evictions 23 November 2011

    …Rapid economic development within a newly privatized land market has seen an increase in forced eviction across Cambodia.

    “Tens of thousands of people across Cambodia are unlawfully losing their homes because of the demands of big business,” said Donna Guest.

    “The Cambodian government must not sacrifice human rights in the name of economic development.”

    Forced eviction often leads to loss of possessions and livelihood, the break up of communities, and a deterioration of a family’s mental and physical well-being.

    Access to education and health services can be disrupted. Many victims of forced eviction receive inadequate compensation and are resettled in remote areas. Husbands may need to spend long periods of time away from home seeking work, leaving their wives to cope alone.

    “The loss of one’s home and community is a traumatic experience for anyone, but women in their role as primary caregivers for their family face a particular burden. Forced evictions also threaten the gains made in reducing poverty in Cambodia over the last 20 years,” said Donna Guest.

  10. I also found this article about some of the history behind the Land grabbing and Land evictions in Cambodia:

    Across the country, communities continue to face disputes over land. More often than not, critics say, it’s the rich or well connected who come out on top. Amnesty International has estimated that 150,000 people across the country live under the risk of eviction; a local NGO, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, has suggested that 100,000 residents in Phnom Penh alone have been evicted from desirable central districts to ones on the outskirts of the capital over the past decade. Boeung Kak will likely ensure that thousands more Cambodians are displaced.

    In 2007, the government awarded a 99-year lease for the land to Shukaku Inc., a company connected to a senator with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, and reportedly backed by Chinese investors. Since then, residents have been embroiled in disputes with the developer and local authorities over claims to the land. Housing rights groups say at least 1,600 families have already moved.

    Now, it appears the situation may be coming toa head. In early March, authorities issued eviction letters to many of the remaining households. They’ve offered identical compensation deals to all of the families – replacement housing on the outskirts of the city, or a lump sum payment of $8,500. But many in the community say it’s not enough.

    ‘It’s not a negotiation; they’re forcing us to move,’ Bunnary says. ‘With that kind of money, we wouldn’t even be able to buy a grave to bury our bodies.’ Read more of this article:


  1. Karrie says:

    It’s so true that a democracy means nothing when the people in charge use their power and wealth to create a dictatorship through laws and government control. It sure is sad that the people don’t have the means to rise up and fight against the corruption and the evil…

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