UNESCO is criticized after Cambodia evicts thousands around World Heritage site Angkor Wat

by | Nov 16, 2023 | Religion

BANGKOK (AP) — The human rights group Amnesty International has strongly criticized UNESCO and its World Heritage program for failing to challenge the Cambodian government’s ongoing mass evictions at the famous centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex.The London-based organization in a report released Tuesday charged that the evictions of an estimated 10,000 families by Cambodian authorities violated international and national law.
It said the evicted people have received little or no compensation and the government’s two main resettlement sites have inadequate facilities in terms of roads, water and electricity supplies and sanitation.
The report accused UNESCO of disregarding U.N. guidelines in failing in its obligation to intervene and promote the human right to housing. UNESCO should take a stand especially because its designation of Angkor Wat as a World Heritage site needing protection from damage was reportedly used by Cambodia’s government as an excuse for moving people away from it, said Amnesty.
In response to the findings, the report said that UNESCO World Heritage Center wrote that it “does not have the ability to enforce implementation of rights-based standards and policy recommendations as our role is rather focused on policy advice, capacity building and advocacy.”
There are more than 1,200 World Heritage sites worldwide. Angkor Wat was granted that status in 1992, in part because of fears that the growth of human settlements on the …

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