A total of 2,300 ethnic Vietnamese, who had been living in a floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake in Kampong Chhnang province in Cambodia, will soon be settled in their new homes with help from the government and non-government organizations.
Since October the villagers, who had reportedly lived in the country for generations, were ordered by local authorities to move to the Rolea B’ier district by the end of this year, Radio Free Asia reported.
The sites in Rolea B’ier lack infrastructure such as a hospital or medical clinic, as well as access to water and electricity, and the impoverished villagers cannot afford to set up these services on their own, said Sim Chi, president of the Khmer-Vietnamese Association, a non-government organization.
He added that many people from the floating village were locally born and had begun registering as permanent residents in 2014. The organization urged the government to give the villagers more time until there is enough infrastructure in the new location.
Pot Kimsruoy, president of Ethnic Rights Protection, said the government should protect the immigrants’ basic rights in this “forced relocation.”
The Cambodian government said it would review the status of the affected Vietnamese families to ensure they were legally allowed to stay in Cambodia. Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn promised to help the affected villagers, Viet Nam News reported.
However, many were skeptical as the Cambodian government had a long history of discriminating against the ethnic Vietnamese community.