by Natalie Bugalski
NB: For background on this piece, please see a previous post on this site here.
In October the World Bank Inspection Panel will submit its report to the Bank’s Board of Directors on the Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP). The Panel is investigating whether the design and implementation of LMAP constituted non-compliance with World Bank operational policies on involuntary resettlement and project supervision, and whether harm was suffered as a result of non-compliance.
The Request for Inspection submitted to the Panel in September last year claims that households living around a large lake in central Phnom Penh, known as Boeung Kak, were denied their right to proper adjudication of their land tenure status when the entire area was demarcated as being of “unknown” ownership, a de facto classification used when an area is claimed by the State. At around the same time that the flawed adjudication process was being completed in early 2007, the Cambodian Government leased the area to a private company with links to top echelons of power. The company has since filled in most of the lake and about a third of the residents living on and around the lake have been evicted, without ever having their rights to the land assessed. The approximately 12,000 remaining residents live under threat of eviction and report regular acts of intimidation and threats by local authorities in cahoots with the company.