Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wildlife area made private

Wildlife area made private

Wildlife area made private

ALMOST 10,000 hectares of a wildlife sanctuary in Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom provinces have been reclassified as state private land, paving the way for private development in the area that could affect local residents.

According to a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 19, some 9,993 hectares of land in Preah Vihear’s Rovieng district and Kompong Thom’s Sandan district have been earmarked for possible cultivation of rubber and other permanent crops.

Sandan district governor Sim Vanna said villagers had settled throughout the area, but did not have legal rights to their properties.

“People live on the land illegally – they just live there temporarily for farming, and they leave when they finish,” Sim Vanna said. He said that he was unsure how many people might be affected by the repurposing of the land, but that the transition would likely take place without incident.

“It will affect people if the land is given as a land concession, but I think the government will evaluate and study the consequences clearly before granting the land to a company,” Sim Vanna said.

Nhem Sarat, Kampong Thom provincial monitor for local rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that he planned to consult the affected villagers to see if they wanted to file a complaint.

No private companies are currently operating in the area, Sim Vanna said.

Forestry Administration director Chheng Kim Son said the area was not his responsibility. Chay Samith, the acting conservation director at the Ministry of Environment, said he was in a meeting and could not comment.

Prak Saran, the Adhoc coordinator in Preah Vihear, said he too was unsure of how many people would be affected by the repurposing or whether it would disturb the wildlife sanctuary. He urged the government to investigate these issues as development moves forward.

“If the development affects people’s livelihoods, the government should have a solution for that,” Prak Saran said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all