Rattana, 17, tears down the remains of a ground-floor home in the community next to the Lycee Rene Descartes. (Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN)
Monday, 11 May 2009
Written by May Titthara and Christopher Shay
The Phnom Penh Post
Families living near the French school plead with authorities for a bit more time.
IN San Lim Soreng's home on the fourth floor of the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes building, residents urged students and members of the French community to ask the French embassy for more time in their homes.
The residents urged the largely French audience to ask the French embassy to extend their eviction deadline, at least until their children's school year is finished at the end of July.
Last week, the remaining three families in the 30-year-old community agreed to government compensation.
Many families, however, have not had time to construct new homes and do not want to pull their students from school before the year is out.
Raimondo Pictet, 17, a student at the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes, said the event was designed for people to "say goodbye to the people who have lived next to us" and as an opportunity for people "to ask questions to the people who live here directly".
"I have signed the agreement for compensation already, but they put the deadline for us to go on Friday. I would like to tell French people about our situation and ask them to ask the French ambassador to intervene and help us delay our deadline until my child's school holiday," In Daravuth said.
In 2001, the French and Cambodian governments signed an agreement regarding land. In return for 1,000,000 French francs (about US$205,000), Cambodia transferred land and occupied apartments to the French secondary school, according to documents received by the Post.
"Now, we have to start our lives again like after the Khmer Rouge in 1979.... They report to the French embassy that residents are happy to get their compensation, but in fact we agreed to it with tears," resident Meak Sina said with tears in her eyes.