PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 23/011/2009
11 June 2009
Further Information on UA 99/09 (ASA 23/006/2009, 9 April 2009) Fear of forced eviction/health concern
CAMBODIA Around 32 families living at Borei Keila, Phnom Penh
The Phnom Penh Municipal authorities have indicated this week that the families living at Borei Keila will be
forcibly evicted sometime in the next few days. Around 32 families living with HIV and AIDS have protested
at their planned resettlement to a site without basic services and 20 kilometres from the capital, where they
would have no means of income and would lose access to medical treatment.
At least one person in each family requires access to anti-retroviral treatment for HIV and treatment for AIDS-
related illnesses. There are no adequate health services at or near the proposed resettlement site at Tuol
Sambo in Dangkor district. Transport costs to continue anti-retroviral treatment and access to medical
services would be prohibitive. They would also effectively be deprived of their livelihood, as they could not
afford to travel to a market near to Borei Keila, where most of the families make a living as scavengers or
The families have been denied assessment for eligibility to new housing under construction at Borei Keila,
despite having lived there long enough to qualify. However, about two weeks ago the local authority informed
community representatives that 11 of the 32 families would be given new flats at the site. This has not been
confirmed by the municipality, and uncertainty remains.
The housing at Tuol Sambo, made of green metal sheets, looks distinct from other housing in the area, and is
called the “AIDS Village” by local villagers. The families, most of whom are living in severe poverty, strongly
fear they will face stigmatization and discrimination because of their HIV status. The living space is not
sufficient for an average family, and buildings are too close together for safety and ventilation. The proposed
site has no clean water, sanitation, or electricity. Such conditions would pose serious dangers for
In 2007 the Municipality of Phnom Penh resettled the families in the so-called Green Houses, temporary
shelters with appalling conditions, to pave way for the construction of a number of residential multi-storey
houses. The families believe that because of their HIV status, the authorities are discriminating against them,
by forcibly evicting them instead of assessing them to determine eligibility for flats in the new buildings.
In 2008, Amnesty International received reports about 27 forced evictions, affecting an estimated 23,000
people, most of whom are living in poverty. Some 150,000 Cambodians are known to be living at risk of
forced eviction in the wake of land disputes, land grabbing, agro-industrial and urban redevelopment projects.
An estimated 70,000 of these live in Phnom Penh.
HIV prevalence is reported to be declining in Cambodia, down from 1.2 percent of the adult population
between 15 and 49 years in 2003 to 0.9 percent in June 2007, according to UNAIDS. The number of adults
living with HIV is estimated at 67,200, and 3,800 children.