Families File Complaint Over ADB Program

More than 100 families in Siem Reap province’s Varin district have filed a complaint with hu­man rights group Adhoc over their ex­clusion from the Asian De­­vel­op­ment Bank’s emergency rice distributions, which were completed last week, Adhoc wor­kers said Wednesday.

Suon Narin, Adhoc investigator in Siem Reap, said the group, consisting of 109 families from Wat village in Srenoy commune, had called on Adhoc to intervene be­cause they were poor but had been left off distribution lists.

Adhoc would pass the complaint on to the ADB and provincial authorities after the Water Festival, he added.

Siem Reap Deputy Governor Pov Pisith, the provincial manager for the distribution project, said he had not received any complaints, adding that officials would investigate the complaint when he re­ceived it.

He said the distributions, which were conducted Nov 5, had gone well because local officials had been instructed to use village level poverty data from the Ministry of Planning’s IDPoor project.

Suon Narin said the IDPoor project data was from 2005 and the families that complained had probably moved to the area since then.

Villager Torn Eoun, 50, said he was angry because his family and other poor households from Wat village had not received rice handouts. His six-member family owns a small plot of land and lives off their daily fish catch, he said, but his rice stock ran out in May.

“I make money each day [to live on] for one day,” he said “We want to complain to get rice to support our family.”

The ADB’s rice distribution to 68,000 families in six provinces around the Tonle Sap lake and in Oddar Meanchey—part of a $40 million emergency food assistance project—has been hit by complaints of hundreds of villagers accusing local officials of unfair and biased distributions.

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