Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Displaced villagers lose right to vote

Displaced villagers lose right to vote

Displaced villagers lose right to vote

Many residents of an impoverished Phnom Penh community, displaced from their homes in 2006 and resettled in the village of Andong, still have no right to vote in their new commune, highlighting the impact that mass evictions have had on Cambodia’s electorate.

The Sambok Chap, or “Bird’s Nest,” community was pushed out of Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in mid-2006 and thousands found themselves in legal limbo, with no right to vote in the commune elections of 2007.

They again look to miss out on casting their ballots when Cambodia goes to the polls on July 27.

“Seventy percent of the 1,554 families in Andong village have lost the opportunity to vote due to not having identity cards or household registration books,” Am Sam Ath, senior monitor for the human rights group Licadho, said on July 23. “Most of them lost their documents in the forced eviction in 2006.”

For others, the expense of traveling to their former homes is enough to keep them from voting.

“It’s really hard for us to get to the polling station in Tonle Bassac.... It’s very far away and the travel is quite expensive. It costs 5,000 riels each way to get there, and my husband only earns 10,000 riels a day working in Phnom Penh,” said Chan Tha.

“I tried to ask the commune authority to make a new name card for me so I could vote, but because I have no documents or identity papers he said no. I personally think I won’t be able to go to vote because of the cost. We don’t have enough rice to eat anyway.”

National Election Committee head Tep Nytha said the NEC and local authorities helped re-register Andong residents back in 2007.

“We have issued Form 1018 for them if they lost their ID cards or household registration books,” Tep Nytha said. “We have already intervened there.”

But many were lost in the bureaucracy of obtaining the proper forms and documents, said Am Sam Ath.

 “People lost rights to vote and select the party they want to lead the next government,” Am Sam Ath said. By ignoring these people, he said, the local authorities “showed disrespect for democracy.”

“It’s like they’ve just thrown us into a rubbish bin,” said Andong villager Dou Sophal.

MOST VIEWED

  • Tensions high ahead of historic Kun Khmer match up

    The long-awaited November 5 matchup between Kun Khmer legend Prum Samnang and Myanmar-Canadian boxer Dave Leduc has become the most anticipated fight of the year. The Wurkz Sena Kun Khmer promotion, which will be held at the Town Arena at Chip Mong 271 Megamall, will see six

  • Manet: Cambodia safe for travel

    Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged that Cambodia and China have cooperated to tackle internet scamming, fraud and other cross border crimes, but insisted that the “Kingdom of Wonders” is completely peaceful and safe. He welcomed tourists to come and explore its rich heritage. During a

  • UNESCO formally list Battambang gastronomy

    Battambang, renowned for its cultural heritage, has achieved a significant milestone as the first Cambodian municipality to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The UCCN unites nearly 300 cities prioritising creativity and cultural industries in local development plans and international cooperation. On World Cities Day,

  • Cambodia pivots to solar, wind energy

    Cambodia is planning a move towards solar and wind energy to meet its rising power demands, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rottanak. On the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week event held recently, Rottanak emphasised the urgency of diversifying Cambodia’s

  • Angkor causeway symbol of Cambodia-Japan ties

    In a historic moment marking another milestone in the 70-year-long diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan, King Norodom Sihamoni celebrated the formal inauguration of a causeway located to the west of the world-renowned Angkor Wat. While presiding over the November 4 ceremony, the King emphasised the

  • Manet calls for Cambodia’s railways to get back on track

    Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the relevant authorities to expedite studies into upgrades to the Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk railway line. He suggested that the maximum speed on the line should be increased to 80km/h, in order to expedite the transportation of