Cambodia defends family relocations around the famous Angkor Wat temple complex

Cambodia is rejecting allegations it violated international law by evicting people living around its famous Angkor Wat temple complex, saying in a report to UNESCO released Monday that it was only relocating squatters and not residents of more than 100 traditional villages.

The U.N. cultural agency had demanded a response from Cambodian authorities in November after a scathing report from Amnesty International claimed that thousands of families, some that had lived in the area for “several generations,” were being forcibly evicted from around the World Heritage Site as Cambodia seeks to develop the area for tourism.

Amnesty questioned Cambodia’s assertion that the families were being voluntarily relocated, citing interviews with people who said they had been forced out, while maintaining that resettlement sites lacked adequate water, sanitation and other facilities, and criticizing UNESCO for failing to challenge Cambodian authorities.

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