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State grants three groups ethnic status

Government officials have identified 21 communities of indigenous peoples from two provinces in Cambodia as ethnic minority groups, with a further 10 communities awaiting similar approval.

Seng Narong, a consultant at the Department of Ethnic Minority Development at the Ministry of Rural Development, said yesterday during the sixth National Forum on Indigenous Participation in Development that the 21 groups in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces were approved as ethnic minorities.

The recognition of their ethnic minority status makes them eligible for officials to register their communal lands and preserve their cultures.

“It means we recognise them as Kreung, Tumpuon and Jarai ethnic minority groups,” he said, and added that the government had been working on the three communal land registrations since 2009 and that a further 10 communities would be recognised by the end of the year.

But more than 100 representatives from indigenous groups across 15 provinces gathered outside the forum to express their concerns that their rights have been violated by economic land concessions awarded by the government to local businessmen.

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