A DELEGATION of the Cambodian Watchdog Council plans to visit the Vietnamese border in Prey Veng province in early January, after receiving complaints that land has been ceded to Vietnam in joint demarcation efforts.
CWC President Rong Chhun said yesterday that he will lead a delegation to visit border posts 130 and 131 in Komchay Mear district’s Krabao commune in the first week of January. He said the organisation has received complaints that the posts have been placed up to 600 metres inside Cambodia’s legal territory.
Rong Chhun said that Cambodian land had traditionally stretched to the east of Meanchey Stream in Krabao, but that border post 131 had been planted to the west.
“We want to go and see with our own eyes, avoiding the government, which has always said that [land] has not been lost,” Rong Chhun said.
“After our visit, we will prepare a report to deliver to the government. Even if government does not care about this we will still do it so that the public can know the reality.”
Komchay Mear district governor Prak Savan dismissed the claim yesterday, saying that the CWC would see the true situation for themselves when they visit the border.
“Please come see with your own eyes. Do not believe a person who is not truthful. If you seek the truth, come directly, I will bring you to see the spot where the post is planted,” Prak Savan said.
The announcement of the visit follows controversies over the demarcation process in border areas in Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham, where opposition figures and civil society groups have claimed the loss of land to Vietnam.
Earlier this month, Vietnamese soldiers allegedly blocked a delegation of parliamentarians from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party from approaching border post 103 in Kampong Cham’s Memot district.
The party’s self-exiled president, Sam Rainsy, has been sentenced to 12 years jail on a series of charges related to his campaign to expose a similar pattern of alleged border incursions in Svay Rieng.
When contacted yesterday, Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, said that unlike the SRP’s visit to Kampong Cham last week, it would be legal for the CWC to visit the border posts in Prey Veng, since the border in the area has already been demarcated.
But Var Kimhong said it was unnecessary for the CWC to report to the government on the issue, since the relevant authorities were already in charge of the demarcation process.
“The border committee is representative of the government. If [Rong Chhun] does not agree it is his business, but he does not need to report anything more,” he said.