Joint Call of Cambodia’s indigenous peoples to end forced evictions of indigenous communities in Kbal Romeas village for Lower Sesan 2 dam

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    Position of Kbal Romeas Bunong indigenous community
    and
    Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance (CIPA)
    Joint Call from Cambodia Indigenous Peoples

    We, the indigenous community networks, organiations, associations, elders, youth and women in Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, Kratie, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Kampong Cham, and who are distinct groups of indigenous peoples such as Tumpoun, Bunong, Kui, Por, Kreung, Prov, Kachak, Chong, Suoy, Stieng, Lun, Kavet and Jaray, have discussed at our respectively local levels by raising concerns and  showing sympathies for the indigenous community in Kbal Romeas village.

    We have reached a collective consensus and urgent call for
    “an end to violent forced evictions of indigenous community in Kbal Romeas village”

    The indigenous community living in Kbal Romeas village, Kbal Romeas commune, Sesan district, Stung Treng province consisting of fifty-eight households, who are forcedly evicted from their home village by authority and company, have reached a collective consensus and decision to not accept the compensation given by the company of the hydropower dam. By doing so, because they don’t want to lose their identity, spiritual areas, ancestral burial lands, and traditional economic systems for sustainable livelihoods and for next generation’s exercise. The community have refused to be displaced because they have their own choice to choose a relocation area called Sreveng where is a safe place 4 Kilometres far away from the river and 7 Kilometres from the old road linking from Chrop village to Ratanakiri province. That area has rich soil where the community have been doing farming with high yields. It is also a place where the people can raise their domestic animals like cows and buffaloes, and more importantly, they can fish and collect sub-forest products for collective livelihoods and with happiness in accordance with their traditional ways. They even witness with their own eyes the challenges and difficulties of the villagers moving to the new place. At the new village, the people receive only five hectares of land as some families with many members receive not enough compensation as stated in the compensation principle. The soil is not rich for farming, and there is no forest for NTFPs collection. In the dry season, due to the water shortage, they have to pay 30,000 riels (around 7.5$) per week for water. Most of them have lost their traditional occupations that are their core incomes sustaining their ownership; instead, they have become workers of Chinese and Vietnamese companies. Having seen above-mentioned issues, the people now in the old village have joint position not to oppose the development project of the government, but they urge the government to accept and respect their collective decision without forced eviction and they even demand the development on the ground regardless of racial discrimination.

    We, the indigenous peoples of 24 distinct groups from 15 provinces and municipalities as well as organisations and networks, hereby express our strong support of decision-making of indigenous people in Kbal Romeas village (the old village), and in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we call for the government, national assembly, senators, companies, and other relevant institutions to:

    The National Assembly:

    1. Conduct studies and take immediate intervention to avoid any forced eviction and violence,

    The Government:

    1. Accept and respect their decision-making in moving to a safe place where is 4 Kilometers away from the river,
    2. Stop forcing the people to accept the compensation of displacement to a new place,
    3. Avoid using any forms of violence and intimidation of the people who refuse to be displaced,
    4. Arrange a set of apparatus in case of any emergency for rescuing the people, domestic animals and houses,
    5. Plan the development on the ground through providing communal land titles and public services.

    The Companies:

    1. Give appropriate compensations for actual damage of properties.

    Endorsing Organisations

    No Organisation Location Acronym
    Community
    Bongkeun Phall Preah Vihear
    Prame Preah Vihear
    Association
    Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association 8 provinces CIYA
    Indigenous Fund Association of Lon Village Ratanakiri IFAL
    Organisation
    Highlander Association Ratanakiri HA
    Conserve Indigenous Peoples Language Ratanakiri CIPL
    Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Organisation Phnom Penh CIPO
    Organisation for the Promotion of Kui Culture Preah Vihear OPKC
    Indigenous Agriculture Development of Cambodia Ratanakiri IADC
    Network
    Indigenous Rights Active Members 101 villages, 15 provinces
    Mondulkiri Indigenous People Network 32 villages, 5 districts MIPN
    Indigenous Peoples Working Group Ratanakiri IPWG
    Boeng Yeakloam Ratanakiri YL

     

    Contact persons

    Hean Bunhieng, 012276595
    Dam Samnang, 0974219555

    Read the position statement of Kbal Romeas Bunong indigenous community here and indigenous peoples in Cambodia here.

    For more information, see Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance Facebook page.