Search form

Licadho asked to show its data

A man takes shelter under a makeshift hut next to the burned remains of his house
A man takes shelter under a makeshift hut next to the burned remains of his house that was razed to the ground during a land dispute in Koh Kong province last year. Heng Chivoan

Licadho asked to show its data

Dismissing a recent report showing a sharp increase in land disputes, the government has said such conflicts are in fact decreasing and formally called on rights group Licadho to release its findings.

Licadho reported last week that it recorded about three times as many new land complaints last year than in 2013, affecting more than 10,000 families across 13 provinces.

“Urgent action is required to avert this continuing trend,” the group said at the time. But the government dismissed the findings, labelling them “fabricated”.

“They have a hidden agenda . . . they are making it up to get more funds,” Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said of Licadho.

On Friday, the Cadastral Commission at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction wrote to Licadho to request detailed information about the disputes in question.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for Licadho, said the group was preparing to provide the information to the ministry as requested in the hope that it could help solve the seemingly intractable disputes.

“The cases compiled by the Cadastral Commission are based only on complaints filed to the commission,” he said.

“It does not include cases where the complainants are in conflict with economic land concessions, or vulnerable people who are seeking solutions through the courts, the judicial system and with the help of NGOs,” he added.

The Ministry of Land Management noted that its own figures suggest that land disputes have significantly declined over the past few years, from 990 cases in 2013 to 750 cases last year, after the ministry “resolved” 240 cases.

Data released by Licadho last April showed that Cambodia had passed what it called a “shameful milestone”, with land conflicts having affected more than half a million people since 2000.

Last week, the group said that it had recorded more than 90 new land disputes last year, involving 10,625 households, or slightly fewer than 50,000 people.

Latt Ky, head of the land section at local rights group Adhoc, said that despite the two groups’ findings on land conflicts differing – largely due to having different remits and receiving different reports – the figures provided by Licadho are “appropriate”.

The Cadastral Commission offers little confidence to those affected by land disputes as it fails to provide a focal point for complaints, he added.

“If we look at the Cadastral Commission, they do not work at all [to solve land disputes]. The commission seems to have abandoned its role,” he said.

“It has not resolved the complaints of the victims, and that’s the reason so many land dispute victims came to Phnom Penh and marched . . . because they have zero faith in the commission.”

E Bunthoeun, vice president of the Cadastral Commission, declined to comment as he had not yet received a response from Licadho to his request.

“I have no obligation to respond to journalists,” he said.


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all