The Banteay Srei district administration is calling on locals involved in land disputes to submit relevant documents to the district hall to solve the disputes, some of which have gone unresolved for years.
District governor Khim Finan said on Wednesday that while the government studies the possibility of allocating State land to people who have occupied and depended on it for many years, the district administration needs to collect all data related to the land issues.
There is an urgency to solve the issues to prevent opportunists from exploiting the situation by trespassing on State land, claiming they had lived on it for years and requesting authorities to recognise them as landowners.
“There may be up to thousands of families [involved in land disputes]. We are still waiting for them to bring additional documents for us to check,” Finan said.
He said the district administration will continue to stand firm against illegal land grabs and will take legal action against perpetrators.
The district administration requires all village and commune chiefs in Banteay Srei district to cooperate with representatives of the Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Environment to collect data on people who may be allocated land and provided with land ownership certificates by the government.
A resident of Banteay Srei district’s Khnar Sandai commune, Choem Maly, said on Wednesday that she wasn’t involved in a land dispute.
She said that since Finan became district governor, she has noticed a lot of development in terms of infrastructure, roads and irrigation.
“The district governor has helped solve a lot of people’s problems involving farm and social work, and now I hear that he is announcing his help to solve land disputes for people. So I applaud this action and if anyone has this problem, [they] should quickly submit the relevant documents to him,” he said.
Siem Reap provincial Adhoc human rights coordinator Chan Chamroeun said on Wednesday that Finan had promised to push for a speedy resolution to the land disputes, but he has yet to solve them.
Chamroeun said Banteay Srei district has many land disputes, some of which have persisted for years.
“I welcome the district governor’s commitment, but I will push for a transparent, fair and just legal resolution that is acceptable to all parties. He should have mediated and ended these disputes by now because some cases have lasted for many years,” Chamrouen said.