Apsara authority butts heads with homeless villagers

Villagers sign a petition to the Cambodian Prime Minister after the Apsara Authority, the agency that oversees the management of Angkor, tore down a house which the authority says was illegally built in a protected area. This reminds me of a time when the World Heritage status of Ayutthaya was threatened because of the encroachment of settlers into the protected areas of the ancient city.

Villagers critical of Apsara Authority
Phnom Penh Post, 05 November 2009

Villagers in Kork Chak commune plan to submit a petition requesting Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention after officials from the Apsara Authority tore down a house officials said had been built in a “protected area”, in part of what they call a broader effort to crack down on illegal construction.

Lim Enghav, a 36-year-old Military Police officer and owner of the dismantled house, said the petition contained nearly 200 thumb prints and would be sent to the premier’s cabinet today. He said he hoped Hun Sen would protect villagers’ rights to build new homes, as well as additions to existing ones. He had just finished his 20-square-metre corrugated tin home – which was torn down on Sunday by around 30 people – last Friday. “It is like robbery,” he said.

Bun Narith, director general of the Apsara Authority, which manages the Angkor temple complex, said the homes were located in a protected area, and that the organisation had already instructed them not to build new homes or additions.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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