Hun Sen: Angkor Squatters Will Be Relocated

Families facing eviction from the Angkor Protected Area in Siem Reap province will be relocated to 1,012 hectares of land that have been placed under Ap­sa­ra Authority control, according to a subdecree signed by Prime Min­ister Hun Sen last month.

Apsara Authority will select families from the 401-square-km protected area who will move to the new site, named the Runta Ke Development zone, in Ban­teay Srei and Prasat Bakong districts, the authority’s Deputy Di­rec­tor Soeung Kong said Tues­day.

“We don’t know when we will begin to move people, but it is im­por­tant to have the land first,” he said. He did not know how many people would be moved or how much land they would re­ceive.

Those to be relocated under the Oct 19 subdecree, include squat­ters whom Hun Sen or­dered the Apsara Authority to evict from the Angkor Wat compound in July, Soeung Kong said.

Now, in addition to giving the families land, Apsara Authority will construct a market, hospital, school and drainage system for people inside the new development zone, he said.

Residents within the Angkor Wat protected area have long been considered a threat to the temples, Soeung Kong said.

“People have encroached on the forest, and dug wells for water, and their actions can damage the temples,” he said.

At the last meeting of the In­ter­national Coordinating Committee of Angkor, which took place in Siem Reap in February, experts said the park’s growing population would prove to be a major challenge for the protection of the temples.

When the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Or­gan­i­za­tion removed Angkor Wat from the “in danger” portion of its World Heritage list in July, Unesco Country Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Etienne Clement noted that illegal encroachment within the park continued to threaten the temples.

(Additional reporting by So­lana Pyne)

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.