Diakonia - People change the world

Cambodia

In Cambodia, Diakonia supports a variety of local and national non-governmental organizations working on human rights, democracy, gender equality, good governance, and social and economic justice.

5/10/2017

Cambodia faces a number of development challenges, including weak public service delivery, ineffective management of land and natural resources, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

But the country also continues to enjoy robust growth, albeit at a slightly lower pace. The garment sector, together with construction and services, are the main drivers of the economy. Poverty continues to fall in Cambodia, although the pace has declined significantly.

Cambodia’s development has been accompanied by widespread land grabbing perpetrated against poor farmers and communities, as well as in urban areas. Land has been converted to accommodate large plantations of sugar and rubber, along with other industrial products mainly for export. Approximately half of the country’s arable land has been appropriated by agribusinesses and mining companies. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evicted from their land in recent years.

How we work

Diakonia is an accompanying partner with a local presence and we engage with our implementing partners through dialogue, funding and capacity building.

Diakonia works with local civil society organizations and directly with communities, training people to become aware of and defend their rights. This includes paralegal support and work to achieve justice for victims of violations such as land grabbing. 

A vital component of democratic governance, beyond the challenge of ensuring free and fair elections, concerns holding elected officials accountable and safeguarding an independent judiciary. Diakonia supports partners working to secure good governance across all levels of government and public institutions in Cambodia. We also support independent media so that people have access to independent information and can exercise freedom of expression.

Diakonia’s work makes a difference

Through the work of Diakonia and our partner organizations, hundreds of thousands of people have become aware of their human rights. By encouraging people to organise themselves, a successful contribution to the general development of the community has been made. 

As a result of the support from partner organizations, people affected by land grabbing have successfully defended their rights. Women are often the ones taking the lead in these struggles and they have increasingly achieved leadership positions in their communities.

Read more about our work in Cambodia

  • Our land is our life

    Manak Soun and Simorn Y had lived in the same place for more than 20 years. In 2005 they discovered that the land they were living on was not included in the government’s land registration system, which meant...
  • Unusual leader heads urban squatter community

    “I will help my community to be more closely protected from forced eviction,” resolves Tuch Pao. She is a 60 year old woman from the squatter community of Rolus Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh who has been trained by...
  • Kry Suntha is dedicated to change the work environment

    At first Kry Suntha wasn’t interested in joining the union – that would only cause problems he thought. But he learned more and decided to start a union group. Now – after more than ten years of struggle - he...
  • Sambo’s struggle for land rights lives in her husband

    Chhit Sambo was dedicated to the fight for villagers’ land rights and gained many good results. Now she has passed away, and her husband is committed to her legacy and to let the struggle continue to live.
  • Cambodia

    In Cambodia, Diakonia supports a variety of local and national non-governmental organisations working on human rights, democracy, gender equality, good governance and social and economic justice. Diakonia in Cambodia
  • Fighting for beer workers' rights

    Mara Priem is one of many beer workers in Cambodia, working under lousy conditions, the salary isn't fixed, nor are the working hours. She’s often forced to drink together with the bar’s customers and sexual...
  • Knowledge is a weapon to change working conditions

    Massage workers at one of Siem Reap’s biggest massage centres were treated more or less as slaves. They were asked to work 12 hours or more a day, they had no annual leave and only received 55 dollars a month -...
  • Cambodian partner organizations discuss land grabbing and partnership with Diakonia

    In Cambodia, land grabbing is a growing problem for people in poverty, as their homes are taken away from them with limited compensation. Diakonia's partner organizations STT, CLEC and LICADHO are currently in Sweden to share the situation and what needs to change in Cambodia. More about the partners
  • Cambodia: Call for women candidates quota

    Cambodian NGOs, among them the Diakonia partners Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and Gender and Development for Cambodia (CAD-C) are calling for a change in national election laws, so that at least 30 per cent of the candidates on electoral lists are women. More about the call to action