The Ministry of Land Management on Wednesday granted land certificates to 116 families from the Phnong ethnic minority group in Mondulkiri province after years of land disputes.
The grants cover an area of 1,606 hectares in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom town, which the families want to use for housing, farming, prayer and burial. Im Chhun Lim, the minister of land management, said that the certificate will allow the indigenous communities to sustain their livelihoods and enjoy food security.
“Those certificates are the best legal documents that they, as a minority group, can use to avoid land disputes and can protect their land,” said Eang Bun Hor, the Mondulkiri governor.
The families were previously involved in multiple individual land disputes with various parties, including local authorities and businesspeople.
Sok Ratha, coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Mondulkiri, said he is worried that some families might use their land titles as collateral to borrow money, which may put them in danger of losing the land once more.
“We are afraid that it’s easy for them to fall into debt,” he said.