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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Calls for land reform

Calls for land reform

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Nearly 1,000 land protesters descended on Phnom Penh on Wednesday to highlight their complaints of land confiscation. The protesters took their case to the EU and the National Assembly

About 800 farmers turned up at the Olympic Stadium this week for a protest against

illegal land grabs and to call for land law reform.

The Sam Rainsy Party-inspired rally moved from the stadium to the European Union

offices before making its way to the National Assembly.

The banners in Khmer spelled out the protesters' concerns: "Land Reform Now;

Please Help Cambodian farmers; Donor countries must push for Land reform; Land is

Human Life; Justice for farmers; Stop land confiscation; No land reform No development."

The European Union was the first target for protest because of its own and its members'

donor contributions to the country.

A letter was presented to the EU representative by three of the protesters.

The letter read: "We urge the European Union to use its very strong political

and financial leverage to push for an indispensable land reform in Cambodia. Land

reform must be among the issues on top of the agenda of any discussion between the

European Commission and the Cambodian government."

Sam Rainsy addressed the protesters pointing out his was the only party which had

formulated a policy on land law and had a draft ready.

Protesters spoken to by the Post all claimed to have been victims of illegal land

confiscations.

One of the protesters said that taking land was tantamount to murder.

"We will struggle until the end of our lives," he said.

If we are shot by bullets just few people die but if we have no land our families

die."

This was a theme picked up by Rainsy in his speech.

"If you take land from farmers it means you take their lives," he said.

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