Eviction of HIV-affected Families in Phnom Penh

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 18 June 2009
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Cambodia
Location Community of Borei Keila, in Phnom Penh

Affected persons

Total 100
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Private party
Brief narrative Extracts from an open letter by Human Rights Watch:
Open Letter to the Government of Cambodia
Regarding the Treatment of HIV-affected Families from the Community of Borei Keila

On June 18, 2009, 20 HIV-affected families were evicted from Borei Keila and sent to Tuol Sambo, a remote resettlement site created by the government on the outskirts of the city. This eviction took place despite repeated appeals to the government, including from United Nations agencies, more than 18 local and international organizations, and a national network of people affected by HIV.

We have reason to fear that relocations of HIV-affected families are continuing even as we sign this letter.

We are deeply disturbed by the Cambodian authorities` creation of a de facto AIDS colony at Tuol Sambo. Located in a desolate, flood-prone field in a semi-rural area 25 kilometers from Phnom Penh, Tuol Sambo is far away from the jobs, medical facilities, and support services that had been available to Borei Keila residents in the city.

The housing conditions at Tuol Sambo are grossly inadequate in terms of size, fire safety, and sanitation. [...]

While other homeless people from Phnom Penh are slated for relocation to brick houses at an adjacent site at Tuol Sambo, the HIV-affected families from Borei Keila have been placed in a separate settlement with inferior housing, distinguished by green corrugated metal roofing and walls. Even before the evictees were resettled there, local people referred to the green sheds as "the AIDS village."

The Borei Keila evictions were carried out to make way for a commercial development, which was granted government approval in 2003 with the understanding that the developer would build new housing on site for residents displaced by the project.

With a few exceptions, the HIV-affected families thus far displaced by the development have not been screened for eligibility for the on-site housing - unlike other families who are not affected by HIV. After waiting for two years, the authorities have now acknowledged that at least 11 HIV-affected families previously slated to be sent to Tuol Sambo are in fact eligible for new on-site housing at Borei Keila. To date, however, they remain in Borei Keila and have not yet been provided new housing.

Source: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/25/open-letter-prime-minister-and-minister-health-cambodia (27 July 2009)
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