Cham Fisher Folk Fear Eviction in Cambodia

Collection with 19 media items created by U.S. Editor

23 Jan 2013 15:00

The Cham Muslim group has been living in Cambodia for hundreds of years, many subsisting as fishermen and women. But in Phnom Penh, where the peninsula divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, the development of a large hotel threatens many families. The Sokha Hotel, under construction next to the pier, will have more than 450 rooms. The Cham Muslim community, many of whom don't own houses or land, fear that hotel management will force them to vacate. Where they will go, nobody knows.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fisher women repair the fishing nets daily. Most Cham families own two boats. One boat is used for fishing, the other serves as a house.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (2...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that also serves as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (3...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

A Cham fishermen prays in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again”, says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests. The Cham Muslims fear Sokha management will soon grab their land.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (4...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Young Cham fisher folk prepare to go fishing at night. They live in a Cham community at the peninsula that divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, near the centre of Phnom Penh. Most of them work as fishermen and –women.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (5...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

A Cham woman prays at five o'click in the afternoon. She stands on her boat, her face to the east. But that is also in the direction of the Sokha hotel. The Cham Muslims fear Sokha management will soon grab their land.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (6...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

An older Cham sits in the self-made mosque with the Quran on his legs and a tea pot next to him. . "I came from another Cham village to read the Quran to my fellows here because there is no translation of the Quran into our language. And I'm one of the few Cham to read Arabic." Through the hole in the green cloth, the Sokha hotel is visible.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (7...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

The Cham fisher folk are not unhappy, but now their place of stay is threatened by the construction of the Sokha Hotel, a large building that will house more than 450 rooms and is being built next to the pier of the Cham families. The fishing Muslims fear that it will lead to a forced eviction, just like tens of thousands other people in Cambodia who have been forced to move in the past ten years.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (8...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fisher folk unload the fish catch of that morning. They sell the fish at the market in Phnom Penh. Cham fishermen fish almost every day for their daily survival.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (9...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

A young Cham girl walks from the Cham boats to a small shop, near the Sokha hotel, which has been in the process of being built for two years. The 16-floor hotel will probably open in 2014. The fishing Muslims fear that it will lead to a forced eviction.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Treh Roun has been fishing since he was a teenager. “Our lives are not easy here, but we will not leave this place before they offer us a proper piece of land and we know for sure we can continue fishing. I myself accepted this life a long time ago. I’m getting old, and I know the day is coming that Allah will pick me up to go to heaven.”

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Young Cham fisher folk prepare to go fishing at night. They live in a Cham community at the peninsula that divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, near the centre of Phnom Penh. Most of them work as fishermen and –women.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

In the early morning light, a Cham fishing boat navigates over the Tonle Sap river. The view is taken from the Japanese Friendship Bridge, at the centre of Phnom Penh. “Officially, we are not allowed to fish here because the government says we are too close to the Royal Palace. So they want us to go fishing further up. But we catch less fish over there, so we’re still coming back here," says Karim, a Cham fisherman.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Routinely, Karim steers his boat over the water. Almost every morning, he goes fishing with his wife Amrah.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Karim and his wife Amrah fish almost every day in the Tonle Sap river. Karim says, “We don’t have a house or land, so we can’t live as a farmer. The only thing we can do is go fishing. I found peace in that, but if we have to leave this place, I don’t know where to go.”

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Young Cham fisher folk prepare to go fishing at night. They live in a Cham community at the peninsula that divides the Mekong River from the Tonlé Sap River, near the centre of Phnom Penh. Most of them work as fishermen and –women.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Cham fishermen pray in their mosque, an open space with a green cloth that works as a roof. “When the wind is blowing hard, our mosque sometimes collapses. Then we have to built it up again,” says Treh Roun, one of the three local leaders. Behind the mosque, the Sokha hotel is under construction. The 16-floor hotel will probably be opened in 2014 and is expected to have room for about 800 guests.

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Cham fisher folk fear their future (1...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Kristof Vadino
23 Jan 2013

Karim and his wife Amrah fish almost every day in the Tonle Sap river. Karim jumps on his small fishing boat after diving into the waters to free his fishing net, which got stuck between the rocks. Karim says, "The only thing we can do is go fishing. I found peace in that, but if we have to leave this place, I don’t know where to go.”