Thursday, 18 September 2008

Boeung Kak: the residents deliver their petition to a representative of Hun Sen

Cambodge Soir


This morning, the Boeung Kak lakeside residents held a demonstration in Takmao. Since they weren’t able to meet Hun Sen, the villagers delivered their petition to the authorities. However, the latter didn’t appreciate the T-shirts they were wearing.

On Wednesday 17 September, about 200 demonstrators gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s residence in Takmao. They brandished signboards requesting his intervention concerning the Boeung Kak events, but also portraits of Hun Sen and his wife. In the absence of the latter, a representative took note of their complaints and received their petition. The petition is requesting renewed negotiations with the municipality concerning the amount of compensation money and the suspension of the filling operations, which provoked floods. The lakeside residents are hoping that the municipality will find a solution to this problem by pumping out the water excess for example. The residents hope to receive an answer to their demands in one week.

However, the authorities expressed their anger about the T-shirts worn by the demonstrators. According to a member of the Human Right Task Force, the organisation which distributed these T-shirts, the authorities allegedly accused them to have added fuel to the fire. These t-shirts indeed showed texts saying “Our lake, our house” and “Save the Boeung Kak Lake, join us”.

According to Neb Ly, a Human Right Task Force member, the authorities were actively trying to find the author of the slogans on the T-shirts. Yet, still according to him, these texts had nothing illegal. Chan Savet, investigator for the Adhoc Human Rights Association, was surprised about the alleged reaction of the authorities concerning this matter. We couldn’t however confirm this information. The visits of foreign delegations and Amnesty International to the Boeung Kak area had already provoked anger amongst the municipality.

Wanting to see some evolution, the representatives of the Human Right Task Force wrote to the Phnom Penh Municipality in order to set up a meeting, tomorrow Thursday 18 September. They wish to talk about the fate of the Boeung Kak residents and of the author of the T-shirts.

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