Between the Grassroots and the Bank

Kedong Ombo Hydropower project - New Naratif

78-year-old Nget Khun from Cambodia couldn’t believe what she was witnessing at the World Bank group’s orientation for civil society groups in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on 9 October 2018.

An official from the World Bank was presenting the latest Grievance Redress Service (GRS) report, which is part of their complaint mechanism for people and communities affected by World Bank-funded projects. But the case of forced evictions from the Boeung Kak Lake area in Phnom Penh, which was densely settled with more than 4,000 households and which affected Khun, was not included.

When asked by a Cambodian land rights advocacy group to find a sustainable solution for Boeung Kak Lake residents, a World Bank official told the group to contact the Cambodian government or to visit the international financial institution’s Washington headquarters. “The World Bank official answered that they already gave a solution as they had stopped the project funding and paid compensation. But the impact of their funding, like housing [issues] and impoverishment is still there,” says Sreyleak from the Housing Rights Task Force in Cambodia, a group of international and national NGOs working for the housing rights of the urban poor in Phnom Penh.

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