Forced Eviction and Resettlement in Cambodia: Case Studies from Phnom Penh


The Article begins in Part I with background information on forced eviction and resettlement in Cambodia, highlighting the human rights violations implicated in this traumatic process. It then surveys the legal framework of land rights in Cambodia as it relates to communities at risk of forced eviction, and the government‘s failure to uphold legal guarantees related to land rights. Part II discusses the Boeung Kak Lake resettlement scheme and how the lack of government accountability and the poor bargaining position of marginalized communities converge to produce grave human rights abuses. A case study focuses on the effects of resettlement in Boeung Kak Lake and Damnak Trayoeng. Interviews of people living in these communities reveal that the effects of resettlement are most strongly felt in five main areas: income, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and land tenure. In Part III, a second case study analyzes how resettlement impacts families affected by HIV/AIDS. This analysis is based on interviews in two communities with families that have HIV-positive members, one awaiting resettlement in the Green Shelters at Borei Keila, and the other already relocated to An Dong. The Leitner Clinic found that the challenges of resettlement are amplified for families living with HIV/AIDS due to their special needs and vulnerabilities. The conclusion suggests how organizations can assist affected communities that either will be evicted or have already been resettled, through rights education.


Eviction, Forced migration, Land tenure, Land titles, Possession (Law), Cambodia



Chi Mgbako (Fordham University School of Law)
Rijie Ernie Gao (Fordham University School of Law)
Elizabeth Joynes (Fordham University School of Law)
Anna Cave (Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic)
Jessica Mikhailevich (Fordham University School of Law)



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