Monthly Archives: August 2011

Week in Links – Week 33/2011: Ethnic engineering in Osh, privatization in Havana

I should begin by noting that my NRC report on urban displacement in Liberia has now been published in the Journal of Internal Displacement, vol. 1, no. 2. Other articles in the same edition cover the plight of the Sahrawi people in Morocco and provide an assessment of development-induced displacement in the Narmada Valley in India.

A bit of follow-up in the meantime on some stories TN has been following:

– First, the latest Economist (Aug. 13) gives some insights into just how bad things have gotten for the Uzbek minority in southern Kyrgyzstan since the appalling violence last summer that killed hundreds. According to the article (“Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbeks: Weak fences, bad neighbours”), all signs of moderation are now gone.

At the national level, Kyrgyz nationalism is “surging” in advance of October’s presidential elections and the head of the International Commission of Inquiry that found evidence of crimes against humanity undertaken during the pogrom (see TN post here) has been PNG’ed by Parliament.

However, events in Osh, the epicenter of last summer’s violence, are most disturbing. As discussed previously in TN, the Kyrgyz major still appears to have no qualms about using an antiquated master plan as the device for cleansing Uzbek survivors of the violence from their homes and communities in the center of the city: Continue reading

Cambodia: Resolution of Boeung Kak Lake dispute in sight

by Rhodri C. Williams

TN reader Bronwyn was kind enough to update my earlier post on the standoff between the Cambodian government and the World Bank over resettlement assistance to residents of the Boeung Kak Lake area of Phnom Penh. It seems that the Bank’s announcement that it had frozen funding for projects in Cambodia pending resolution of the dispute caught somebody’s attention.

As reported in the Khmer service of the Voice of America, the Cambodian government has now met BKL residents’ demands for land plots within their old neighborhood rather than assistance resettling elsewhere:

Thousands of Boeung Kak lake residents who have been fighting a protracted battle with Phnom Penh and a development company have seen their fortunes reversed and have been granted a small plot of land on which to resettle.

Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a subdecree Aug. 11, giving 1,000 families still living near the lake approximately 12 hectares of land on the planned 133-hectare development site.

On its face, this decision represents a significant concession by a regime that had, until recently, received word of the Bank’s decision with disdain. Continue reading

Breaking news: World Bank funding to Cambodia frozen over forced evictions in Phnom Penh

by Rhodri C. Williams

Today’s edition of the Cambodia Daily carries the news that the World Bank has confirmed suspending funding for new projects in Cambodia pending the conclusion of an agreement between the Government of Cambodia and remaining residents of the Boeung Kak Lake district of Phnom Penh that would allow for them to be re-housed on site.

This development marks the continued escalation of a longstanding controversy over the Cambodian Government’s legally dubious evictions of the residents of Boeung Kak. As described in previous TN postings, criticism of these and other similar urban forced evictions led the Government of Cambodia to pull the plug on a multi-million dollar World Bank-supported titling program, while simultaneously embroiling the Bank’s own country team in proceedings before the body’s Inspection Panel over charges that the same program had violated longstanding policies on involuntary resettlement.

Continue reading