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Land disputants petition lawmakers

Aggrieved residents of Kratie and Preah Vihear provinces yesterday delivered petitions to the National Assembly and Ministry of Interior, asking for intervention in two separate ongoing land disputes.

Roughly half of the petitioners, representing 63 families in Kratie’s Snuol district, asked for help with a dispute that began when Snuol District Governor San Nal redistributed land that Kratie’s provincial governor had already allocated, said representative Thy Sophal.

According to Sophal, in February of 2014, Provincial Governor Sar Chamrong took 250 hectares of land from rubber company Binh Phuoc II, granting it to people who owned it before the company claimed it. But instead, Nal allegedly initiated a “lucky draw” program for ownership, causing people who lost land to Binh Phuoc II to lose it again, he said.

“We hope the prime minister and ministers help solve this matter in line with the government policy regarding occupied land.”

However, Nal yesterday said that his redistribution scheme is in line with policy, and he received advice from higher-ups.

In a separate dispute, some 50 people from Preah Vihear’s Choam Ksan district came to Phnom Penh looking for support in fighting alleged severe corruption, community representative Nhem Sarath said yesterday. The representatives of 253 families claim the local government officials are working together to decimate homes and schools, so they can claim ownership of the land.

National Assembly chair of the Commission on Human Rights Eng Chhay Eang yesterday said he takes the complaints seriously.

“We’re working on it, and if necessary we will include relevant authorities,” he said.

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