ការបិទបាំងការពិតស្តីពីការតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មីនៃគម្រោងផ្លូវរថភ្លើង

ការបិទបាំងការពិតស្តីពីការតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មីនៃគម្រោងផ្លូវរថភ្លើង

ធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីបដិសេធមិនផ្សព្វផ្សាយរបាយការណ៍តិទៀនរបស់អ្នកជំនាញ

សេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍សារព័ត៌មាន

ថ្ងៃទី១៨ ខែមីនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៣

រាជធានីភ្នំពេញ

អង្គការ សមធម៌កម្ពុជា សមាគម ធាងត្នោត និង អង្គការ Inclusive Development International (IDI) ពិតជាមានការសោកស្តាយយ៉ាងខ្លាំងចំពោះធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី ដែលការបដិសេធមិនចេញផ្សាយ របាយការណ៍តិទៀនរបស់អ្នកជំនាញការឯករាជ្យ ស្តីពីផលប៉ះពាល់នៃការតាំងលំនៅថ្មី ដែលជាផ្នែកមួយនៃ គម្រោងស្តារផ្លូវរថភ្លើងនៃមហាអនុតំបន់ទន្លេមេគង្គនៅក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជា។

ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី បានច្រានចោលនូវការចេញផ្សាយនៃរបាយការណ៍ឃ្លាំមើលឯករាជ្យមួយ របស់អ្នកជំនាញឯកទេសខាងការតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មីដ៏ល្បីល្បាញពាសពេញពិភពលោក បណ្ឌិត ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) ដែលពាក់ព័ន្ធនឹងភាពប្រទាំងប្រទិសនៃគម្រោងនៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ស្តីពីគម្រោងស្តារផ្លូវ រថភ្លើង។ គម្រោងនេះ ប៉ះពាល់ដល់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋប្រមាណជា ៤១៦៤គ្រួសារ ដែលរស់នៅតាមបណ្តោយផ្លូវ រថភ្លើង ហើយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋទាំងនេះ ត្រូវបានតម្រូវឲ្យចាក់ចេញប្រហែលជា ១២០០គ្រួសារ។ ក្រុមហ៊ុន អូស្រ្តាលី Toll Holdings និងក្រុមហ៊ុនកម្ពុជា រ៉ូយ៉ាល់ក្រុប ទទួលបានសម្បទាន ៣០ឆ្នាំ ក្នុងកាសាងសង់ផ្លូវ រថភ្លើងថ្មីនេះ។

របាយការណ៍ ស្តីពី ការឃ្លាំមើលការតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មីរបស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋនៃគម្រោងស្តារផ្លូវរថភ្លើង នៃ មហាអនុតំបន់ទន្លេមេគង្គនៅកម្ពុជា : ពាក់ព័ន្ធនឹងបច្ចុប្បន្នភាពនៃស្ថានភាព ភាពខ្លាំង ភាពខ្សោយ និង អនុសាសន៍ ដែលត្រូវបានប្រគល់ជូនទៅធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីដោយបណ្ឌិត ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) នៅពាក់កណ្តាលឆ្នាំ២០១២ ក្នុងគោលដៅឆ្លើយតបទៅនឹងបញ្ហាកំពុងកើតមានដែលនាំឲ្យរាំងស្ទះដល់ គម្រោងស្តារផ្លូវរថភ្លើង។ ប្រភពព័ត៌មានមួយចំនួន បានឲ្យដឹងថា របាយការណ៍នោះបានតិទៀនយ៉ាងខ្លាំង ចំពោះដំណើរការតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មី និងផលប៉ះពាល់ទៅលើក្រុមគ្រួសារដែលបានចាកចេញ ដោយទទួលបាន លទ្ធផលដ៏លំបាកវេទនា។

ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីបានបដិសេធសំណើសុំឲ្យចេញផ្សាយនូវរបាយការណ៍នេះ។ បន្ទាប់ពីសំណើសុំ បានដាក់ទៅកាន់គណ:កម្មាការណែនាំឲ្យផ្សព្វផ្សាយជាសាធារណ: (Public Disclosure Advisory Committee) ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីបានព្រមព្រៀងក្នុងការចេញផ្សាយនូវអនុសាសន៍នៃរបាយការណ៍នោះ ប៉ុន្តែបដិសេធមិន បញ្ចេញរបាយការណ៍ទាំងមូល។ គណៈកម្មាការបានលើកឡើងថា “ផលប៉ះដែលអាចកើតមានពីការផ្សព្វ ផ្សាយរបាយការណ៍ គឺអាចជាផលប្រយោជន៍សាធារណ: ដោយនិរន្តរន៍ និងភ្លាមៗ។ យោងតាមគោល នយោបាយរបស់ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី ពាក់ព័ន្ធនឹងទំនាក់ទំនងសាធារណៈ សេចក្តីសម្រេចរបស់ គណ: កម្មាការណែនាំឲ្យផ្សព្វផ្សាយជាសាធារណ: (Public Disclosure Advisory Committee) គឺជាការសម្រេចចិត្តចុង ក្រោយ និងបិទផ្លូវប្តឹងតវ៉ា។

លោក អៀង វុទ្ធី ដែលជាតំណាងអង្គការសមធម៌កម្ពុជា បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា “តើផលប៉ះពាល់នេះ ទៅដល់អ្នកណា? ខ្ញុំឆ្ងល់ណាស់ ថាតើអ្វីដែលពួកគេកំពុងលាក់លៀម ដែលអាចនាំឲ្យមានផលប៉ះពាល់ខ្លាំង នោះ? វាហាក់ដូចជាថា ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីកំពុងចាត់ទុកផលប្រយោជន៍ផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនធំជាងផលប្រយោជន៍ សាធារណៈ និងផលប្រយោជន៍ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ដែលកំពុងទទួលរងផលប៉ះពាល់ពីគម្រោងផ្លូវរថភ្លើង”។

លោក អ៊ី សារុំ ដែលជាអ្នកសម្របសម្រួលកម្មវិធីរបស់សមាគមធាងត្នោត បានឲ្យដឹងថា “ការសិក្សា ស្រាវជ្រាវដែលនឹងចេញផ្សាយនាពេលអនាគតដ៏ខ្លីខាងមុខ ស្តីពីផលប៉ះពាល់តាំងទីលំនៅថ្មីនៃគម្រោងស្តារផ្លូវ រថភ្លើង បានប្រព្រឹត្តទៅ ដោយយកគំរូតាមអនុសាសន៍របស់បណ្ឌិត ស៊ឺនារ ដែលបានបង្ហាញយ៉ាងច្បាស់ថា ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋរងផលប៉ះពាល់នៃគម្រោង គឺកំពុងរងទុក្ខ។ ការមិនផ្សព្វផ្សាយរបាយការណ៍របស់បណ្ឌិត ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីកំពុងតែព្យាយាមលាក់បាំងការពិត”។

ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋរងផលប៉ះពាល់ពីគម្រោងស្តារផ្លូវរថភ្លើង ក៏បានលើកឡើងនូវភាពអាក់អន់ចិត្តចំពោះ ធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី ដែលមិនបានផ្សព្វផ្សាយរបាយការណ៍នេះ។

លោក ស៊ឹម ពៅ ដែលជាតំណាងសហគមន៍ទួលសង្កែ “A” បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា “ខ្ញុំជឿជាក់ថា របាយការណ៍របស់លោកបណ្ឌិត ស៊ឺនារ គឺមានប្រយោជន៍ជាវិជ្ជមានដល់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ដែលជាហេតុធ្វើឲ្យ ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី បដិសេធមិនចេញផ្សាយ ដោយសារពួកគេបារម្ភពីការបាត់បង់ផលប្រយោជន៍របស់ខ្លួន ។ ខ្ញុំចង់ឲ្យធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីចេញផ្សាយរបាយការណ៍នេះ ហើយខ្ញុំចង់ឲ្យពួកគេបកប្រែវាទៅជាភាសាខ្មែរ ដូច្នេះ ពួកយើងអាចប្រៀបធៀបរបាយការណ៍នោះទៅនឹងគោលនយោបាយរបស់ធនាគារអភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី ដែល កំណត់ថា ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋមិនគប្បីលំបាកជាងមុនដោយសារតែគម្រោងផ្លូវរថភ្លើងឡើយ។ ខ្ញុំចង់ឃើញធនាគារ អភិរឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី អនុលោមទៅតាមរបាយការណ៍របស់បណ្ឌិត ស៊ឺនារ”។

លោក ឃួន ព្រំសារិទ្ធ ដែលជាតំណាងសហគមន៍ត្រពាំងអញ្ចាញនៅរាជធានីភ្នំពេញ បានមាន ប្រសាសន៍ថា “ខ្ញុំពិតជាមានការសោកស្តាយណាស់ ដែលរបាយការណ៍របស់លោក ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) មិនត្រូវបានចេញផ្សាយ។ ជីវភាពរស់នៅរបស់ពួកយើងនៅទីតាំងថ្មី គឺមានស្ថានភាព លំបាកខ្លាំងណាស់ ខ្វះនូវហេដ្ឋារចនាសម្ព័ន្ធមូលដ្ឋាន ទីលំនៅសមរម្យ មានការងារធ្វើ និងមានសាលារៀន សម្រាប់កូនៗរបស់ពួកយើង។ កត្តាទាំងនេះ បានធ្វើឲ្យពួកយើងជំពាក់បំណុលគេយ៉ាងធ្ងន់ធ្ងរ និងប្រឈមទៅ នឹងការបាត់បង់ដី។ ពួកយើងដឹងថា របាយការណ៍របស់លោក ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) គឺបាន ឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងពីស្ថានភាពជាក់ស្តែងរបស់យើង និងបានផ្តល់នូវអនុសាសន៍ល្អទៅកាន់ធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី ដើម្បី លើកកំពស់ស្ថានភាពនៃសហគមន៍រងផលប៉ះពាល់។ ពួកយើងស្នើសុំយ៉ាងមុតមាំឲ្យរបាយការណ៍នេះចេញ ផ្សាយ ដើម្បីជាផលប្រយោជន៍របស់ពួកយើង”។

លោក ដេវិត ប៊្រែត (David Pred) ដែលសមាជិកគណ:គ្រប់គ្រងនៃអង្គការ Associate of Inclusive Development International បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា “វាពិតជាការប្រមាថដ៏ធ្ងន់ធ្ងរមួយ ដែលធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីបានធ្វើទៅកាន់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ដែលកំពុងប្រឈមនឹងភាពក្រីក្រដោយសារតែគម្រោង នេះ ហើយពួកគេមិនត្រូវបានអនុញ្ញាតឲ្យដឹងពីអ្វីដែលអ្នកជំនាញការផ្នែកតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មី បានធ្វើសេចក្តីសន្និដ្ឋាន លើស្ថានភាពរបស់ពួកគេផ្ទាល់។ ប្រហែលជារបាយការណ៍របស់បណ្ឌិត ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) ផ្ទុយទៅនឹងស្ថានភាពនៃការតាំងលំនៅថ្មី ដែលធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីចង់ឲ្យលោកបណ្ឌិតគូស បង្ហាញ”។

កង្វះតម្លាភាព និងភាពផ្សព្វផ្សាយជាសាធារណៈឲ្យទាន់ពេលចំពោះរបាយការណ៍សំខាន់ៗ បានក្លាយ បញ្ហាធំតាំងពីដំបូងនៃគម្រោងផ្លូវស្តាររថភ្លើង ហើយករណីនេះ មិនមែនជាការកម្រិតនូវរបាយការណ៍របស់ បណ្ឌិត ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) ទេ។ រាជរដ្ឋាភិបាលកម្ពុជា ធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ី និង ជំនួយ រដ្ឋាភិបាលអូស្រ្តលី គឺកំពុងស្ថិតនៅក្នុងដំណើរការរៀបចំ គម្រោងផែនការតាំងទីលំនៅថ្មី ដែលរាប់បញ្ចូល ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋរងផលប៉ះពាល់បន្ថែម ១១១គ្រួសារ នៅក្នុងរាជធានីភ្នំពេញ។ ដោយសារតែ គម្រោងផែនការតាំង ទីលំនៅចាស់ នឹងមិនចេញផ្សាយជាសាធារណៈរហូតទាល់តែបញ្ចប់ដំណើរការ និង ការអនុញ្ញាត/បដិសេធ អ្នករងផលប៉ះពាល់ នូវឱកាសក្នុងការទទួលបានព័ត៌មាន និងប្រឹក្សាយោបល់លម្អិតអំពីគម្រោង។

លោកស្រី នូរ៉ា លីនស្រ្តម (Nora Strom) ដែលជាប្រធានកម្មវិធីអភិវឌ្ឍន៍នៃសមាគមធាងត្នោត បាន មានប្រសាសន៍ថា “ធនាគារអភិវឌ្ឍន៍អាស៊ីព្យាយាមលើកឡើងថា ពួកគេកំពុងទទួលស្គាល់ពីតម្លាភាព និងគណ នេយ្យភាព គឺជាចំណុចសំខាន់ក្នុងការអភិវឌ្ឍន៍ឲ្យមានប្រសិទ្ធិភាព និងដើម្បីសម្រេចឲ្យបាននូវទស្សនៈវិស័យ របស់ខ្លួន ស្តីពីការកាត់បន្ថយភាពក្រីក្រនៅតំបន់អាស៊ីប៉ាស៊ីហ្វិក។ គម្រោងនេះ គឺឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងលើករណីគ្រប់យ៉ាង ប៉ុន្តែលើកលែងតែចំណុចដែលលើកឡើងខាងលើ។ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋរងផលប៉ះពាល់ និង អង្គការសង្គមស៊ីវិល សង្ឃឹមយ៉ាងមុតមាំទៅលើរបាយការណ៍របស់បណ្ឌិត ម៉ៃខល ស៊ឺនារ (Michael Cernea) ប៉ុន្តែឥឡូវ យើងពុំទាន់មានឱកាសបានឃើញវាទេ”។

សម្រាប់ទំនាក់ទំនងព័ត៌មាន ៖

រាជធានីភ្នំពេញ ៖ លោក អៀង វុទ្ធី តំណាងអង្គការសមធម៌កម្ពុជា (+855) 12791700 Vuthy@equitablecambodia.org

រាជធានីភ្នំពេញ ៖ លោកស្រី នូរ៉ា លីនស្រ្តម (Nora Linstrom) ប្រធានកម្មវិធីអភិវឌ្ឍន៍នៃសមាគមធាងត្នោត (+855) 15552805 Nora@teangtnaut.org

ទីក្រុងម៉ែលប៊ន ៖ លោក ដេវិត ​ប៊្រែត (David Pred) សមាជិកគណ:គ្រប់គ្រងនៃអង្គការ Associate of Inclusive Development International +61 418146603, David@inclusivedevelopment.net

ព័ត៌មានបន្ថែម របាយការណ៍សារព័ត៌មាន និង ព័ត៌មានផ្សេងៗទាក់ទងនឹងគម្រោង ៖

Media Statement: Railway Resettlement Debacle Cover Up: ADB Conceals Critical Expert Report

Railway Resettlement Debacle Cover Up:

ADB Conceals Critical Expert Report

Media Statement

 

(Phnom Penh, March 18, 2013) Equitable Cambodia (EC), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) and Inclusive Development International (IDI) regret the Asian Development Bank’s refusal to disclose a critical independent expert report on the impacts of involuntary resettlement caused by the Railway Rehabilitation Project in Cambodia.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has denied disclosure of an independent monitoring report by the world-renowned resettlement expert Dr. Michael Cernea about the controversial project to rehabilitate Cambodia’s railway. The project affects at least 4164 families who live alongside Cambodia’s dilapidated railway tracks and requires the physical relocation of at least 1200 families. A joint venture of the Australian firm Toll Holdings and the Cambodian firm Royal Group secured a 30-year concession to operate the refurbished railways.

Dr. Cernea was commissioned by ADB in mid-2012 to examine the situation and prepare the report, Monitoring of Population Resettlement in Cambodia’s Railway Rehabilitation Project: Current Status, Strengths, Weaknesses, and Recommendation, in response to the ongoing resettlement problems plaguing the Railway Project.  Informed sources say that the report is highly critical of the resettlement process and the impacts on affected families, who have been left worse off as a result.

The ADB rejected an initial request for disclosure of the report.  After an appeal was launched to the Public Disclosure Advisory Committee, ADB agreed to disclose the report’s recommendations but refused to disclose the full report.  The Committee stated that “the harm that would result from the disclosure of the entire Report would be substantial, immediate, and likely irreparable, and outweighs the benefits of disclosure.”  According to the ADB’s Public Communications Policy, the decision by PDAC is final and cannot be appealed further.

“Harmful to whom? I really wonder what they are hiding that could be so harmful,” said Eang Vuthy, Representative of Equitable Cambodia. “It seems that ADB is putting its own interests ahead of the public interest and the interests of people that have been harmed by the Railway Project.”

“Forthcoming STT research on the resettlement impacts of the Railway Rehabilitation Project, conducted following Cernea’s Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction model, unequivocally shows that people affected by the project have been harmed”, said Ee Sarom, Programmes Coordinator at STT. “By not disclosing Dr. Cernea’s report, the ADB is trying its best to cover up that fact.”

Households affected by the Railway Project also expressed their deep disappointment with the ADB’s lack of disclosure.

“I believe that Dr. Cernea’s report will effectively benefit the people so ADB will not release it because they are worried about losing their interest,” said Sim Pov, community representative from Toul Sangke A in Phnom Penh. “I want the ADB to release the report and I want them to translate it into Khmer so that we can compare the report with ADB’s policy – that people should not be worse off as a result of the Railways Project. I want to see the ADB comply with the recommendations made by Dr. Cernea.”

“I am really sorry that the report prepared by Michael Cernea is not being disclosed,” said Mr. Prom Sarith, a community representative at Trapeang Anchhan in Phnom Penh. “Our lives at the new resettlement site are in the harsh condition, where we are lacking basic infrastructure, adequate housing, jobs, and school for our children.  This has made us become severe debtors and face losing our plot of land.  We understand that Michael Cernea’s report reflects our real situation at the ground and provides good recommendations to ADB to improve the situation of the affected communities.  We would strongly request this report be disclosed. It is for our benefit.”

“It is the ultimate insult by ADB to the families whom they have upended and impoverished with this project that they aren’t even entitled to know what a global resettlement expert thinks about their situation,” said David Pred, Managing Associate of Inclusive Development International.  “Perhaps that is because Dr. Cernea’s take is totally inconsistent with the whitewashed description of the resettlement situation that ADB’s spin doctors have portrayed.”

Lack of transparency and timely public disclosure of key documents has marred the Railway Project from the start, and is by no means limited to Dr. Cernea’s report. Reportedly, the Cambodian government, the ADB, and AusAID are currently in the process of preparing an Addendum to the Resettlement Plan, which will see the resettlement of an additional 111 households in Phnom Penh. As with previous Resettlement Plans, it will not be publicly disclosed until finalised and approved, denying resettlers an opportunity to be informed and meaningfully consulted about plans that will profoundly affect their lives.

“The ADB claims it recognises transparency and accountability as essential to development effectiveness and to achieve its vision of an Asia-Pacific free of poverty,” said Nora Lindström, Programme Development Manager at STT.   “This project exemplifies everything but that. Affected households and civil society groups supporting them had high hopes for Dr. Cernea’s report, and now we won’t even get to see it.” 

 – END

Media contacts:

In Phnom Penh:  Eang Vuthy, Representative, EC: (+855) 12791700, vuthy@equitablecambodia.org

In Phnom Penh:  Nora Lindström, Programme Development Manager, STT:  (+855) 15 552 805, nora@teangtnaut.org

In Melbourne:  David Pred, Managing Associate, IDI: +61 418146603, david@inclusivedevelopment.net

Extensive information, media reports and other news items about the Project are available at:

http://www.inclusivedevelopment.net/railway

http://www.teangtnaut.org/

https://cambodiatrainspotter.wordpress.com

Funded by AusAID, CUFA enters the Spin Game

Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA) has posted an article on their website extolling how households evicted from the railways are pleased with their new legal shelters. CUFA recently signed an agreement with AusAID for an unspecified amount to provide financial literacy training to households relocated as part of the ADB and AusAID funded railways rehabilitation project. The logic seems to be that affected households are in debt not because low compensation rates and badly planned relocation, but because they don’t know how to manage their finances. You can read CUFA’s article here.

ADB publishes information about the Expanded Income Restoration Program

The ADB has published 8 points of information about the much-delayed and largely opaque Expanded Income Restoration Program (EIRP) for households at railways relocation sites. The program, funded by the AusAID, is based on the principle of getting the relocated households to help themselves through joining savings groups. It is administered by the little known groups SBK and Envisioning, selected by the government, whose initial income restoration plans were deemed unsuccessful and prompted the Australians to grant an addition US$960,000 for income-restoration under the railways project. Households who join savings groups (joining is compulsory for accessing any benefits) get access to loans of US$450 from a Community Development Fund, and US$250 as a grant from the Social Safety Net Fund. Given that the ADB estimates the number of households at relocation sites being 1,105, this means that around US$773,500 of the funds granted by AusAID will likely go affected households, with the ADB, SBK, and Envisioning presumably pocketing the rest. Many relocated families have complained about the lack of jobs and other income-generating opportunities at the relocation sites, with many households particularly in Phnom Penh wondering how they are meant to save on a regular basis, when they are facing high debt levels as a result of inadequate compensation and lack of employment opportunities following relocation under the project. To read the 8 point published by the ADB, click here.

New Environmental Monitoring Report on the Railways

The ADB has released Environmental Monitoring Report #16 prepared by Nippon Koei Co. Ltd. in association with JARTS. The report notes some improvements in TSO, the construction contractor’s, handling of environmental impacts of the railways rehabilitation, though continues to note construction workers lack adequate safety tools and equipment in some areas. You can access the report here.

ADB: Samrong Estate Belongs to the State, not the People

The ADB has released a legal opinion on the disputed ownership of the Samrong Estate in Phnom Penh prepared by Cambodian law firm HBS Law.

According to a statement issued by the ADB, “The independent legal opinion provided by HBS Law concludes that the Samrong Estate is public State property under the Cambodian law and it is not subject to private ownership. The independent legal opinion is based on review of applicable laws, relevant documents, and letters and receipts provided by the people who live, farm or have businesses in the Samrong Estate.”

Residents and supporters have argued otherwise, claiming, among other things, that any State claims to the land were nullified by the 2001 Land Law which nullifies any “any regime of ownership before 1979”. Hence, if the land is needed for the future railway, it should be expropriated according to the law and residents should be compensated at market rates.

Unlike most of the residents affected by the railways rehabilitation project, residents on the land in Samrong Estate do not live by the railway tracks, but in an area identified for a new railway station.

You can access the legal opinion in English and Khmer on the ADB project website.

New Social Monitoring Report is Out

The 17th Social Monitoring report, prepared by the government-recruited REDECAM Group, is out. The report covers the period Feb. 16- May 15, 2012, and is remarkable only in the information it omits, such as the rising debt levels among households affected by the railways rehabilitation project, as well as the failures and delays of the Expanded Income Restoration Programme, for which AusAID has pledged an addition US$1 million (approx.). The report does however note that there are a number of complaints from affected households that continue to be unresolved, as nalso noted previous reports. You can access the report here.

STT releases “Losing the Plot” – a new report on household debt in railways relocation sites

Media Statement
Jun. 19, 2012

Local urban NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) has released a new report entitled Losing the Plot: Rapid Assessment of Household Debt in Trapeang Anhchanh. Based on interviews with 12 households relocated to Trapeang Anhchanh site as part of the ADB and AusAID-funded railways rehabilitation, the report sheds light on one of the most tragic outcomes of what has been presented as an aid project: the unmanageable debts taken on by relocated households.

Envisioned as a prelude to a more comprehensive study on the situation in Trapeang Anchanh, the rapid assessment shows how the railways project continues to be in violation of the ADB’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy, as well as AusAID’s guidelines on resettlement – relocated households are not at the same, or a better, living standard compared to pre-project levels.

Instead, the report shows how the combined effects of inadequate compensation, a dearth of practical advice, reduced incomes resulting from lack of income-generating opportunities, and unsustainable and spiraling levels of debt mean that just eight months after resettlement, households in Trapeang Anhchanh are severely overdue with their interest repayments. Having used their plots as collateral for the loans, several households are on the verge of losing their homes and their land.

The report also shows that the incomes of households living in Trapeang Anhchanh have fallen under the national poverty line, and that many appear in need of humanitarian assistance to survive.

“It is simply unacceptable that a so-called ‘aid project’ is pushing people into poverty and landlessness,” said Nora Lindstrom, Programme Development Manager at STT. “We have highlighted issues surrounding resettlement to the ADB and AusAID for well over two years, including warning them against relocating people to Trapeang Anhchanh, but it appears our – as well as the communities’ – advice and pleas have fallen on deaf ears.”

“As a matter of urgency, we call on the Cambodian government as well as the ADB and AusAID to take measures to ensure no household relocated under the project loses their plot due to debt ,” said Ee Sarom, Programmes Coordinator at STT. “The project parties should also provide debt relief, in the form of repayment of loans, to affected families.”

According to the ADB, the ongoing rehabilitation of the railway in Cambodia involves the resettlement of approximately 1,050 households from their homes along Cambodia’s railway tracks to designated resettlement sites. At least 161 households must be relocated in Phnom Penh. Implemented by the Royal Government of Cambodia, the project is primarily funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

Households affected by the project are entitled to compensation in accordance with the Project’s Resettlement Plans, which must be in compliance with ADB’s Safeguard Policies. The first paragraph of the ADB’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement (1995) outlines its guiding principle:

“People who may be adversely affected by the development intervention should be consulted; compensated for their losses; and assisted to rebuild their homes and communities, reestablish their enterprises, and develop their potentials as productive members of society at a level generally at least equivalent to that which was likely to have prevailed in the absence of the development intervention. Attention to such matters is especially important when the people who may be adversely affected are poor and vulnerable.”
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You can access the report here: Losing the Plot

Media inquiries:
Nora Lindstrom, Programme Development Manager, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, 015 552 805, nora@teangtnaut.org (English only)