The senior government official in charge of land dispute resolution visited more than 300 Koh Kong province families who are threatened with eviction by China’s Union Development Group to compile a report on the issue for Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Vann Sam Oeun, vice chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, who is a former opposition politician, said the inspection last week lasted for two days and included meetings with the 318 affected families who remain at the site in Kiri Sakor and Botum Sakor districts, and company officials.
The villagers, he said, asked that they be allowed to remain where they are under a government policy whereby local people can have their land excluded from developers’ plans.
“I will prepare the report for the prime minister based on what they told me,” Sam Oeun explained.
Brak Thorn, a representative of Poy Chorpun villagers, said the community did not desire compensation and relocation.
“We only want to continue our ancestor’s traditions and to live comfortably,” he said.
In Kongchit, provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, said allowing the villagers to stay would ensure their living standards were maintained.
“If the government cuts off the land for the people, it will help them have a better life,” he said.
“If they are forced to move to a new site, they will have to start from scratch.”