Land has been the single most contentious issue in Cambodia the last ten years. Over 2.2 million hectares of Cambodian land have been granted to large firms in the form of economic land concessions. These concessions and various other land grabs have affected more than 500,000 Cambodians since 2003, according to investigations conducted by LICADHO.
Forced evictions, whether in the form of threats, intimidation, violence, or the actual removal of people from the premises, have long become the number one cause of human rights violations in Cambodia. Forced evictions result in increased poverty, child malnutrition, infant mortality, illiteracy, domestic violence, crime, and unemployment. Evictions decrease communities’ access to the basic necessities of life (including healthcare and food security) as well as their ability to provide for their own needs, mainly because of the distance and squalor of the relocation sites.
Over the recent years, unlawful forced evictions have increased in frequency and violence across the country. As human rights violations and forced eviction are on the rise, so are grassroots non-violent resistance actions and demonstrations. Cambodians are rising up in the face of violence and oppression to fearlessly demand their basic rights and freedoms.