Between the 26th and 29th July MIRO staff undertook a field trip investigation regarding the Statelessness project in Pursat Province. Whilst there staff interviewed various members of the community on the floating villages regarding their living conditions and whether they had any legal documentation.
Many reported that they had no legal documentation at all, and due to the high costs of obtaining it, and attitudes towards them in the local community, obtaining it was near impossible. Furthermore, many reported that the local authorities and Police had told them they were illegal immigrants and were required to leave. As such they lived in constant fear of being evicted from their homes, places they have lived for generations. It was additionally noted that due to the low incomes and high costs of obtaining legal identification, many did not envisage their situation changing soon. As the local community is dependant on fishing as its main source of income, many could not afford to send their children to school. A few members of the community also noted that the local schools did not have a teacher, and as such their children could not get an education. As such, many members of the community feared that their children would have similar futures to them.
As part of the investigation, staff at MIRO met with the local authorities to discuss providing legal education regarding birth certificates and immigration cards to the local communities. The local authorities welcomed MIRO warmly, and stated they were very keen to get involved and for MIRO to undertake this work.