A Slum is still a home
Help us to stop forced evictions in Cambodia
“I arrived in the land of Damnak Tayoung and walked around, and felt that it was just like a deportation from my village that has always given my family and I happiness… I felt really hopeless, and I was angry...I hated them.” ~Roth Sophal
On 24 January 2009 at the crack of dawn, Sophal desperately tried to salvage her possessions, as some 400 homes, including hers, were attacked by hundreds of police and privately paid demolition workers armed with axes, iron bars and electric batons.
As a bulldozer ruthlessly ripped through her home, she begged them to not destroy her house and allow her to move her stuff outside. They refused and told her they would not be responsible for any injuries, so she had no choice but to pick up her newborn baby and move away.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas. Sophal’s sister who was still upstairs sick with tetanus fell down as the walls caved in. Luckily she was only wounded by a nail. Within minutes, her family home and all their possessions were completely crushed. All she managed to salvage was a sewing machine.
That afternoon, Sophal’s village Dey Krahorm, ceased to exist.
A company truck transferred the shell-shocked families to a resettlement site on the outskirts of the city, 20kms away where Sophal was unable to afford electricity or water.
Entire communities are being bulldozed and burned to the ground to make way for commercial development or large industrial farms. Hundreds of Cambodians have decided to fight back, many travelling over 200km to the capital to protest against their eviction. In response, they have been beaten and imprisoned, their families left to fend for themselves. Just last month, 13 women were sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for peacefully singing and making speeches against forced evictions in their community.
This is why we desperately need your support. To help us:
- continue our research efforts and the monitoring of these violations
- ensure stories like that of Sophal are heard on a global stage
- ensure we can take action immediately as a global movement through our Urgent Action network on human rights abuses related to forced evictions, such as campaigning for the relase of these 13 women
- create awareness and call on governments and the international community to increase the pressure on Cambodian authorities to end forced evictions and make reparation for those who have been unlawfully evicted
We must hold authorities accountable for denying basic human rights, driving families into deeper poverty and silencing those brave enough to speak up.
To view Sophal’s full story, please click here.