Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia
Major: International Relations
Name: Nay SithaID: 04150Date: 03 Sept, 2007

Prof. Stan Starygin
Course: Human Rights and World Politics
Final Paper: Topic “The Right to Life and Housing in Cambodia”

Abstract: To share concept and raise the actual issues happens Cambodia relating to the right to life and housing. So, I want to raise the issue to discuss with professor and all of you.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1948, the Right to Life and Housing is one of them. Cambodia is a country is a signatory most United Nations treaties and accords, and UDHR and ICCPR.
Actually, in developing countries as Cambodia, and other countries face heavily developing of urbanization, the government earnestly to place the homeless people outside the city. In the recent years, the Phnom Penh authority and other many replaced to uptown region. Really, most of the poor people got the new shelters through the intervention from other non-government organizations, but some live under tent with difficulty. Help the right to life mean improve human rights stated in UN charter and in the Cambodian Constitution chapter III, article 32. On the other hand, using forces to replace those people to the new place without any suitable shelter violates the Human Rights especially the Right to Life and Housing. However, some homeless people who leaved their home at rural areas and stayed on land of any company or state faced bad condition as inappropriate shelters, lack of sanity and can affect the beauty of the city, more over that situation makes much problems and affects the social stability. Moreover, That group of people are the goal of crimes, terrorism or thieves since their activity mostly are out of control of authority.
In other words, Human Rights is the main issue to solve. Among those human rights, the right to life and housing is key issue for Government to raise more in order to keep the stability in society . In short, The right to life and housing, is the major goal of the UN and government wanted to solve for eradicating poverty. So, government should have more improve for protect their own people.

Cambodia is one of the three countries of former French colony in Indochina, and a member of the South East Asia Nations ( ASEAN). The population of Cambodia in 2005 was 14,8 millions, 20% of whom live in urban area. Through out the 1970s and a1980s, the country was ravaged by war , and under the Khmer Rouge whose policies resulted in near total depopulation of urban centers and genocide of more than three millions people. (1) Cambodia is now on the road to recovery, but the destruction of its urban infrastructure, institutions, and human capital has severe constrained the capacity of the country to develop. Cambodia is a country is a signatory most United Nations treaties and accords, and has adopted the Millennium Development Goals, (MGDs) the first, and most important of which is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. In term of the Human Development Index, Cambodia is a poor developing country that ranked 130 among 177 countries in 2003.
In the situation of human rights in Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh, all of you see many cases about the deportation of people who live at the state or private lands. That are the issues that many massive groups focus on, and criticize the activities of authority and government removing those people to go outside the city and let them lived in difficulty with bad condition in lack of road, light, school, hospital ..etc that supports the living condition of people. In order to raise human right in the universal the United Nations established the UDHR and ICCPR for all the member states to respect for better of human being in the world, and the Right to Life and Housing is one of component of the human rights that the need of all nations in the world.
According to (2) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1948, the article 25 states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, closing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of employment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control, and also in ICCPR ( International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, article 2 Paragraph 1 states that Each State party to the present covenant undertake to respect and ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the right recognized in the present covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion national, social origin, property, birth or other status. the Right to Life and Housing is one of them. According the Constitution of Cambodia, chapter III, article 42 states that all person, individual or collectively, shall have the right to ownership . Only Khmer Citizen and citizens of Khmer nationality shall have the right to own land. Therefore, what government do for development the city by removing the homeless from the land reserved for investment without appropriate shelter is against so forth.
II-Social Context:
1-The Dispute of the Government for homeless people.
(3) In the report of ADHOC, the title of “Forced to Leave” in the end of 2006, we see that the administrative measurement of authority of government for development of the city through deporting the poor from the city at least 10 cases in Phnom Penh. This activities effect 4685 families and in other towns in the provinces. Forced to leave out from homes with no appropriate compensation or any change with agreement is violated the fundamental of people especially right to housing stated in covenant on right of economy, society, and culture in article 11. Due to the 1993 Constitution, article 44 , states, “The right to confiscate possession shall require fair and just compensation in advance.” The article 5 of land law in 2001 also states that confiscating any possession can be exercised under the law, procedure and order after providing compensation and fair. In the last complementation, we saw that the authority of government did not follow what stated in the laws above. Removing people from region to another processed with on plan exactly and without proper infrastructure. So, that activities violate the fundamental human rights living with honor and health of people. As well as, the court did not solve the cases or any measurement to the human rights abuse, and only said that this case was out of their his ability. Based on our observation, the court seemingly were afraid of the executive power. Because of the seculars from the authority, the court did not accept the victims’ complaints. This showed that the court have no independence and it was unconstitutionality in the principle of the law.”
2-Case Sudy: Conflict between state and homeless people.
(4)"On 3,4,5 May,2006 the Phnom Penh authority forced people who lived in village 14, Sangkat Tonle Basac, Chamkarmon District to leave for Tropeang Angchanh, Sangkat Tropeang Krasang, DangKor District, Phnom Penh city, about 32 km far from the old place and a family accepted 5 meters x 12 meters.
On 31 May, 2006, the violation happened between the securities and the villagers in village 14, area the land was not solved ready , and authority obstructed people from establish making their shelters, and always interfere the villagers. The security forces remove the sun their shields, and in the bad situation, those people lived under violence.
Finally, on 6 June, 2oo6, around 5 am, the municipality authority deployed military police, civil police, isolated those people and they prevented the journalists, newspapers from entering that area for information. In the same day, all remaining people were transported to the new place, Andong village, Kuak Rokar Sangkat, Dangkor District, Phnom Pemh city, during that six villagers were detained. "
However, authority attempt to solve many problems that happened during the process of removing people from the states, and private properties that the state had policy for investment .
They try to compromise much time and persuade people who had lived in the reserved land of the states some are the public servant that had contract to leave without condition. For example, the community had installed in the Preah Monivong hospital for many years. Most of them were aware that this is the states property, it would invest it to the private. But they wanted compensation from the state or company who get investment from the states. The conflict that lasted for times was compensation. Moreover, in the dispute situation, some people take occasion to come into for compensation. For example, in Dey Krahom ( Red Land ) Community, they authority removed them to the new place, the among of people increased twice, so the land had reserved for them was up, and some people were no land to accept.
So, deporting people from their residents violated the UDHR and the constitution of Cambodia in many article and chapters. When they are deported to the new places, where no, school, hospital, market, pagoda, and lack of clear water, electricity, road, clean, the way to make money, and suitable shelter, they face difficulty in their lives. Children quit school, they lack food, living in bad condition caused them serious ill especially they meet the serious problems like malaria, dengue fewer. Moreover, they quit school , they have much time to go for a walk every where and concentrated with bad group of people that used drug, and committed robbery , thieves that cause the trouble for the whole society. That cause the living condition of people became bad and going to the deep poverty.
Actually, in developing country, Cambodia, and other countries face developing of urbanization, the government earnestly to place the homeless people to outside of the city. In the recent years, the Phnom Penh authority and other many replaced to uptown region. Really, most of the poor people got the new shelters through the intervention from other non-government organizations, but some live under tent with difficulty. The problem involved complexly in that issues and there are much causes that caused people and authority face. Even government are very upset to solve that problems. In addition, the government got pressure from civil societies and other organization about the human right. Those interest groups accused authority to dismiss people, intimidate and menaced them in order to serve only interest of some companies and personality. In order to examine the real causes that push complex issue on removing people to another places out sides of city. In case of the state land, you can read the constitution of Kingdom of Cambodia, (5) in article 49, in chapter III and the first paragraph states that all citizens shall respect the constitution and laws. Also, in the chapter V, article 48, it states that notably comprises land, mineral resource, mountain, sea, underwater, continued shelf, coastline, airspace, islands, rivers, canals, streams, lakes, forest, naturals resources, economic and cultural centre bases for national defense and other facilities determined as state property.
To control, use and management of states properties shall be determined by law.
The same chapter and Article59 states that the state shall protect the environment and balance of abundant natural resources and establish a precise plan.
Further more, to live or use the state land shall be illegally or we can say we have no place to live and we live where ever we want. While the state need land to invest, they did not leave freely because they knew that state invest land to any company, and they did not delay for their plan; so those people ask the compensation for leaving though they were aware that they had lived on the state land. Among them, some always own other's land for compensation. Some came from remote areas, they met drought and flood, and some sold their land, and had no land to plant or farm.
All in all, The implementation of the right to life and housing is a part of Human Rights that states in the UDHR of the United Nations, and also in the Cambodian Constitution, are limited, and not best, better than many years passed. In the practice of Cambodia government, we see actually that the activity of government to guarantee the rights to life and housing inappropriately though they try to avoid the criticize by the international communities and other civil societies. Many ways that government attempt to solve for better resolution failed inviolately, but we see that they have much plans to restore everything support the life of people in new place. All many issues happened above caused by poverty, bad governance, corruption, transparency, and in acknowledgement from the high of local authority. A small issue can grow up beyond the settlement. As a proverb says that “ Establishing the gate after the buffalo run out .” This means that when the buffalo is here, we don’t care about the gate, then the buffalo run away, we state to make the gate to protect it. So, there is no use to make the gate when the buffalo went out. In the reestablish the country, government need more time to manage, and they will face very complex problems resulted from the war. Cambodian is a country that changed differently many political regimes, and everything that serve the social interest.
In other way, However hard work to do, the government should take the great burden in accordance with the Constitution to guarantee the right to life, and providing shelter or housing to their own people, in order to keep the stability of the society the to ensure the small gape between the rich and the poor, also, to protect the states properties to keep the sovereignty of the states , and another duty to guarantee the properties of the private, to protect the property of investors.
More over, the government should face the main problems, first, they must protect their own people rights from hunger, violence, or unemployment, and protect right to life and housing. Second, to ensure the stability and development of the society. Government must protect the property and passion of private, investors stated in intervention and Covenant of the UN, and in the Cambodian Constitution. People live under poverty line means that they violate the human rights. In short, Human Rights should be mostly protected by government because it can affect the stability for the society.
Government should play a major role to solve the problems by in violence. At first, the should increase The Development spread in the remote areas. It means that employments must be created in remote areas that most populations there this measurement can protect bias growth of population. Another one is that government build department and establish infrastructure of road, education etc. to support their lives before replacing them. Government should improve farming in order farmers have job to do and they will not leave home for the city. Moreover, some institutions involving for agricultural products should attempt to find market place for their products. We have seen already in the principle of government in The Rectangular Strategy of the royal government states in the side 1, But the practice, the process are slow down. According to the (6) states that Cambodia relies heavily on agriculture. Poverty in Cambodia is dominantly a rural phenomenon, with some 90% of poor Cambodians living in rural areas. Agriculture employs 70% of the labor force while industrial employs only 8%.
These measurement can prevent the remote area from rushing to city. Unemployment in remote areas caused much problem for government to solve. At first, they rush into city and mostly the poor that can not afford themselves in city so they try to stay anywhere they can, even though, on the land of any company or the of the state. That caused great problem in human rights especially for the right to live and housing when government face developing and can not afford them for providing housing in outside of dispute lands, and That is problems when government use force to remove people that do not agree to leave. In the solving the installation of homeless people in another place from Phnom Penh, problems yet continue to happen because of unemployment in the remote areas, caused by drought, dried up land, lack of market for agricultural product etc..
Need government to earnestly solve.
Political parties: All of them should raise the national benefit the main one. Competition in fair way in elections. In solving problem on removing people from states lands and company lands are the business for the state and political parties to gain popular from people for another election. Some political parties encourages people who live in the state or any private owner and claiming huge compensation that make difficulty to solve. Encouraging people to respect the laws, duty, and other regulation that help them to afford themselves to live independence. In the country whose people are lack of law awareness is slow developed. There fore, they should encourage them to be aware of their rights and duty to be good citizens.
Civil Societies : should provide the propagandas for people the laws of the government to the people because some people are illiterates, they don’t know the law. Some think that they are the citizens of the state so they can do everything they want and they only confess that they don’t know the law. Also, they are poor they need everything as other. Civil societies should explain them about what they respect the law that must everybody should. They should raised other countries and their own people respect each other. Encouraging people to complain what government , but they do not acknowledge people their duties and tasks make them confuse their role as a good citizen in respecting the laws. In the developed countries, their people well respect the laws because laws guarantee the stability of society. So, the civil societies, have important role to drag the people attention if they do well, people trust in them, since they think that those institutions work without benefit and stay beneath the people and can help people more than government.
People themselves: They should know that they should be the good citizen for their society. Some people complaint a lot about their rights in society but they forget their duties and tasks as they are the citizens of the countries. Because lack of knowledge and they do not improved themselves in knowing the laws, their duties, tasks. They should express what government should not do, but they should not do. The should know owning other's land , is illegal , because constitution guarantees the right and properties of everyone. They should be encouraged constitution of Cambodia,(7) the article 58 band 59 of chapter V, also mentioned above. In short, if we complain our rights and we don’t care other. What will happen ? It affects the stability of the society. The problem is that investor have no trust on government, on our people and they run out for other places. In short, we want anyone respect us, we must respect other.


(1) Brian Roberts, and Trevor Kanaley, Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia, by, 1st ed, ADB, The Philippine, 2006. Page 70.
(2) Human Rights and World Politics, by Stan Starigin, 2007.UDHR, article 25, Page 161
(3)Publication of ADHOC, Neak Chea, issued 279, July, 2006 year
(4) ADHOC, The Human Rights Situation in 2006, issued 6, Jan, 2007, Page43, Paragraph2.
(5) Roberts, Brian and Kanaley, Trevor Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia, 2006, in Philippine, ADB bank Page 72.
(5) Constitution of Cambodia book (1953-1993- page16.
(6) Brian Roberts, and Trevor Kanaley, Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia, by, 1st ed, ADB, The Philippine, 2006. Page 73..
(7)constitution of Cambodia,(8) the article 58 band 59 of chapter V. Page17.

1.Publication of ADHOC, Neak Chea, issued 279, July, 2006 year 13th.
2. ADHOC, The Human Rights situation 2006, vol6, Jan, 2007, year 13th.3. Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia, by Brian Roberts, and Trevor Kanaley, 1st ed, ADB, The Philippine, 2006. 4. Constitution of Cambodia book, Raoul M. Jennar ( 1953-1993).5. Human Rights and World Politics, Compiled by Stan Starigin, 2007.


Blog.Ponnarith said...

I think your Abstract, Introduction, and Recommendation, some of their meaning should be placed in the main or body paragraph in order to add more detail information and supporting. Anyway, the way fo your writing and expaination is very good Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Sithanay

I really appreciated what you have written and explained clearly on the right to life and housing in your final paper. Anyway, I would like to add more detail that in real circumstant government and citizens seem not familair with their obligation as hosted in Cambodian Constitution. Of course, money play very important role to influence the government member to cover their right coscience and objectives and they do not care much about anyone life or shelter but the personal interest is the most concern for them. And for the citizen, they do violate the Cambodian Constitution as well due to they do not respect or obey the Khmer Citizen Rights and Obligation. Much more than this, I still wonder that why our country have constitution but the people remain less understanding. Why the government do not take action to mainstream the people to be more clear about the Cambodian Constitution?

Thank you very much.

muysopheak said...

Dear Men Ka,
After I have read your topic, I think that in our country today has built many schools in the rural area. The government is working hard to developed the rural area by building schools, bridge, and lake etc. And also the NGOs is trying to encourages those people to enter school. I have one question to ask you. You have mentioned that our tradition did not allow young girls to go far from home that why the rate of the girl students who enter school was lower than boys. But now we can see that most of the factories worker are girls and come from rural area. Did they break our khmere Tradition.

Stan Starygin said...



This is fairly well structured paper. Content-wise, it would have benefitted from more thorough research (in the introductory part, you refer to the population of Cambodian as being 14.6 million, whereas CIA and World Bank in 2007 estimated it to be 13.6 million; the population of Cambodia is rapidly increasing, not decreasing, which makes the number I refer to incorrect).
I do appreciate your having done research on eviction matters in Phnom Penh and expressed your opinion on the matter (I don't necessary agree with some of the assertitions you made about the rights-v-duties issue, but I do appreciate your opinion), however, the main objective of this assignment was to examine the scope of protection of the right of choice (in your case the right to adequate housing). I don't see anything in this paper that works towards this objective. Lastly, I specifically indicated that the footnotes must be done in the Bluebook Citation Style. I fail to see its application here.