Last Family on RUFA Campus Agrees To Leave

The last family living on the Ro­yal University of Fine Arts’ North Cam­pus has agreed to leave on Mon­day, following negotiations with a Mong Reththy Group official facilitated by a UN envoy.

However, the actual terms of the deal were in dispute late Monday even­ing.

Miloon Kothari, special rapporteur on housing rights and adequate housing to the UN Commis­sion on Human Rights, arranged the meeting between Mong Ret­hthy Group Vice President Moni­vann Tan and teacher Thann Sin Thou.

Members of the press observed as Monivann Tan and Thann Sin Thou went back and forth several times, altering their offers before they publicly agreed on $16,000 and a 10-by 25-meter plot of land as compensation.

Thann Sin Thou had originally been asking for $30,000 without any land as compensation. She said after the meetings on Monday that she visited Mong Reththy’s office to finalize the deal but was told to come back today.

“They wanted to give me a check but I need [the compensation] in cash,” Thann Sin Thou said. “I also will receive a 25-by-10 meter lot in Russei Keo district.”

The professor, who has lived on the campus for decades, said it was Kothari’s intervention that helped her win in the end.

However, An Pagna—director of RUFA’s cultural research department and Mong Reththy’s representative during negotiations with most of the people who had lived at the campus—said on Monday that Thann Sin Thou had accepted $26,000 and no land.

Mong Reththy later confirmed this. “I have heard she already has land,” he said. “I was held hostage by her.”

Mong Reththy said Kothari’s in­volvement did not force his hand. “I agreed to compensate her because I am a businessman,” he said. “The UN official did not pressure me and his intervention is not the reason I am paying her. I wanted to solve the problem very quickly because I need to run my business.”

Thann Sin Thou could not be reach­ed for further comment Mon­day night.

Most of the families still living at the North Campus in July moved after receiving $3,000 and plots of land on a filled-in lake on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, about two km from RUFA’s campus now be­ing built by Mong Reththy in ex­change for the North Campus land.

(Reporting by Lee Berthiaume, Kuch Naren and Lor Chandara)

 

 

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