Forced Eviction in Sihanoukville

What is affected
Housing private
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Privatization of public goods and services
Date 20 April 2007
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Cambodia
Location Pram Muoy Village, Commune 4, Mittaheap District1

Affected persons

Total 530
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Forced eviction
Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value
Housing losses
- Number of homes 106
- Total value €
Privatization of public goods and services
Land Losses
Housing Losses

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Private party
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, military and civilian police,
Brief narrative PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 23/005/2007 1 May 2007, UA 102/07 Forced eviction/use of excessive force CAMBODIA 117 familiesPolice forcibly evicted 117 families from the community of Mittapheap 4, in the coastal town of Sihanoukville, on 20 April, and destroyed their homes. The police reportedly used excessive force during the eviction, and several people on both sides were injured. A 77-year-old man is still in hospital. Over 100 homes were destroyed.Forced evictions are a grave violation of a range of human rights. As a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Cambodia is required not to evict anyone without adequate notice, prior consultation, due process of law and assurances of adequate alternative accommodation. Hundreds of Mittapheap 4 villagers remain without shelter and are homeless as a result of the evictions.On the morning of the eviction, the community was surrounded on all sides by armed security forces. Violent clashes between the police and members of the community followed with the police firing live ammunition in the air and into the ground, beating people with electric batons and dispersing people with water cannon, while some villagers defended themselves with machetes, bottles and barbed wire.Following the violence, 13 of the villagers were arrested by police, beaten and interrogated, and then taken to the Sihanoukville prison. The detainees have been charged under the so-called UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) law, which is still in force, with battery with injury (Article 41) and wrongful damage to property (Article 52). Article 41 can lead to a prison term of up to 10 years if a weapon was used. Article 52 carries a maximum prison sentence of three years. Since the incident some 40 men remain unaccounted for. They are believed to have gone into hiding, fearful of arrest and retribution for the resistance they put up.Many of the forcibly evicted families are now living in destitution on a roadside under tarpaulins provided by NGOs. The already poor and marginalised families, mostly small-scale fishermen and beach vendors, lack food and drinking water, and have lost their meagre livelihoods. They are receiving some humanitarian assistance from a network of NGOs, which is also helping the injured, sick and traumatised, including many children.The eviction follows a protracted land dispute which came into the open in 2006 when a complaint was filed with the Mittapheap 4 commune chief, claiming the villagers were illegal squatters . However, no competent judicial authority has made a determination of the land ownership claim, as is required under the 2001 Land Law.On 19 January, over four months before the eviction, the Sihanoukville municipality reportedly issued an eviction order giving the villagers seven daysï?½ notice to clear the area. This eviction order was issued without any judicial oversight and was not preceded or followed by any consultation with most of the families concerned. However, reports suggest the 20 April forced evictions and house demolition were actions taken by the police and military police in executing a separate warrant issued by the Sihanoukville Municipal Court to search for illegal weapons. No such weapons were found.In 2006 local authorities began negotiations with 17 families in an attempt to resettle them. These families reportedly rejected an offer of US$500 per family and another offer to be relocated to an area too far from the sea for them to continue making a living from fishing.BACKGROUND INFORMATIONForced evictions are a grave violation of a range of human rights including the
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