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Preventing demining conflict

BETTER planning is needed to ensure conflicts over land titles don’t break out once mine-clearance work is completed, an official with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority said after a workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Mao Vanna, director of the CMAA’s Department of Social Economics Planning, said that in the resettlement process after clearance projects end, “sometimes we find out [the villagers] don’t have land titles”.

“If you find this out beforehand, you can begin the process of issuing land titles and prevent conflict,” he said. “We need to give land back to the villagers and make sure that the land is secure for them.”

The workshop on land rights in mine-affected areas is being co-hosted by the CMAA and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian
Demining.

Organisations from around the world are in town for the workshop, which will provide education about land rights issues they may encounter in
demining operations.

Prak Sokhonn, vice president of the CMAA, said one of the workshop’s objectives was “to encourage countries and organisations working for mine-affected areas to pay greater attention to land rights issues”.

The three-day workshop concludes today. A report of findings and recommendations from the sessions will be published in late November.

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