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Rail Professional : Phnom Penh airport rail link postponed due to protests

Housing Rights Task Force executive director Sia Phearum said most residents in Por Sen Chey district support the project and that he hopes a dialogue between locals and officials involved in the project will be dispel their fears. In part the protests are due to a belief that residents will be evicted to make way for new developments.

Source : Rail Professional on August 18, 2017


Post Magazine : A last look at icon of Cambodia’s ‘Golden Age’ before it is bulldozed to make way for condo tower


It emerged last October that Japanese property developer Arakawa would tear down the structure and replace it with a high-rise. Representatives for the company did not respond to requests for comment about the US$80 million project, but original plans showed that the firm had set aside five floors for existing residents – even offering homeowners a 10 per cent increase on their floor space – but the community was divided, according to Sia Phearum, director of local non-governmental organisation Housing Rights Task Force.


“The owner of Arakawa wanted to see the poor people who are residents of the White Building live together with the rich people, who will buy the condos after four years [of construction],” explains Sia Phearum, who was among those supporting the existing residents during negotiations. “But the people still don’t trust the government of Cambodia because of the bad experiences of the Borei Keila and Boeung Kak communities,” he says, referring to two recent high-profile and protracted land disputes in the city.


After less than nine months of talks, almost all the 493 White Building families (some apartments had been sub­divided) agreed to the company’s alternative offer, of compen­sation of US$1,400 per square metre. Yet not all of them were satisfied – it was less than the US$1,800 to US$2,300 they had sought at various stages of the discussions, and many didn’t want to leave at all.


Source : Post Magazine News on August 12, 2017



PBS : As Cambodia’s economy grows, low-income residents left behind

Sia Phearum: The Khmer Rouge destroyed almost all documents, especially property records. When we transitioned from communism to democracy, refugees who came back from the camps just moved in and occupied any location they could find.

Source : PBS News Hour on June 3, 2017


CNA : ASIA’S FUTURE CITIES - Phnom Penh's development offers uncertain future for the urban poor

“Phnom Penh already has 215 urban poor communities but hardly any affordable homes. So these people have to live near open sewage canals and lakes, like Boeung Tompun, which is now being developed for a high-end project,” said Sia Phearum from the Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), a leading NGO that fights to end forced eviction in the capital.

“More and more people are coming from rural areas. But the government is only focusing on the rich and upper-middle class.”


Source : Channel News Asia on March 04, 2017



REUTERS : Cambodians push for transparency over large land deals

Sia Phearum, executive director of Housing Rights Task Force, speaks during an annual meeting in Phnom Penh in 2015.


In a bid to provide information to local residents, legal scholars and activists have tried to locate contracts for land deals - sometimes with the help of whistle-blowers.


Sia Phearum, executive director of the Housing Rights Task Force, a campaign group working with Cambodians displaced by urban projects, said he experienced this situation first-hand.


VOA : Advocate in Washington To Push for Housing Rights

The director of a housing advocacy group is visiting Washington, in a bid to get more international support to stop land grabs and forced evictions in Cambodia.

Sia Phearum, director of the Housing Rights Task Force, told VOA Khmer he wants the international community to push the government to work harder at solving these issues.

He said he had meetings at the World Bank, which censured its own Phnom Penh office last year for failing to fully implement a land title program that might have prevented the forced evictions of the Boeung Kak lake project in Phnom Penh.

Source : VOA News on April 20, 2012

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