Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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HIV-affected families evicted in Cambodia

23
JUN
2009

Aids Alliance

Last week twenty families affected by HIV were evicted from their homes in Phnom Penh by the Cambodian authorities. The evictions came after several months of strong protests by both the families and the NGO community that had been supporting them.

Centre of Hope, a local NGO supported by KHANA, the Alliance’s linking organisation in Cambodia, had been supporting the families since 2003 when they had been resettled into the temporary shelters in Borei Keila in Phnom Penh, land designated for redevelopment by the Ministry of Tourism.

Under the supervision of district authorities the families were moved again last week to Tuol Sambo, 20 kilometres outside the city. The new site has no access to clean water, electricity or proper sanitation.

WOMEN, another NGO supported by KHANA and operating in that area, is doing their best to help the re-located families but with very limited resources and capacity.

Living so far from the city, the families now have no means of income and no access to medical treatment. The children, some of whom are orphaned, will be unable to continue with their education.

There is also concern that they will experience further discrimination and stigmatization by being forced to live in a separate, distinct area.

The action goes against the Cambodian 2002 Law on the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS which takes a strong human rights approach emphasising, amongst other things, non-discrimination and freedom of movement and abode.

Dr Oum Sopheap, Executive Director of KHANA said, "We strongly urge all those directly involved to continue their dialogue in order to find a solution to this situation that fully takes into account the particular vulnerabilities of the families evicted and ensures they can access the services they need."