Cambodia’s Angkor Wat at center of forced-evictions row

Thousands booted from their homes at World Heritage Site, rights groups say.

As a tuk-tuk driver in Cambodia’s tourism capital of Siem Reap, the livelihood of Prak Savuth revolves around Angkor Wat, the massive 12th century temple complex built to represent the universe itself.

The towering stone temple remains a living religious site today as part of the sprawling 400-square-kilometer Angkor Archaeological Park. Besides dozens of other historic temples that attract throngs of foreign tourists, the area has been home to about 100,000 people, many of whom say their families have lived there for generations.

But over the past year, much of the village life once rooted along the roads and waterways of the park has gone silent. Authorities have cited conservation pressures in the UNESCO World Heritage Site to drive a campaign to remove about 10,000 households and resettle them in underdeveloped districts outside Siem Reap.

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