Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Communities protest sugar disputes

Communities protest sugar disputes

Community members protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen's house yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Community members protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen's house yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Communities protest sugar disputes

Hundreds of people representing communities locked in long-running land disputes in four provinces came to Phnom Penh yesterday to seek the intervention of Prime Minister Hun Sen, asking him to sign off on an EU-backed initiative to evaluate the conflicts.

The communities from Koh Kong, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey and Kampong Speu provinces yesterday filed a petition to seek the government’s intervention in their disputes with several sugar companies whose state-granted economic land concessions (ELCs) had led to serious human rights violations.

The petition called on the prime minister to sign a draft proposal – financially supported by the EU – for the ministries of commerce, land, agriculture and environment to review their disputes.
The ministries submitted the proposal months ago, Equitable Cambodia head Eang Vuthy said yesterday, but since then, it has languished.

Soeng Sokhum, a representative of more than 700 families in Kampong Speu, said his community’s dispute with tycoon Ly Yong Phat’s company had been ongoing since 2010. “We come for Samdech [Hun Sen] to accelerate the signing.”

Pal Chandara, director of the prime minister’s joint committee for complaint reception, said that he would assign the Ministry of Land Management to solve the issue, “because the ministry has more than 20 teams in the provinces”.

Sit Setha, Yong Phat’s director of land dispute mediation, admitted that 700 families were affected, but maintained most of them had been compensated.

“In the past, we cooperated with the authorities and ministries and solved the problems,” he said.

However, many of those compensated have said they took the money out of desperation.

“I took the compensation because I was hopeless,” said Suon Phorn, 50. “There is no point for [others] to take that $500. They will not be able to purchase a rice field with that amount.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • Cellcard announces Cambodia’s first use of 5G to help Kingdom during Covid-19

    Cellcard on Friday announced Cambodia’s first use of 5G for a telemedicine service at four locations across Phnom Penh to help the Kingdom’s most critically ill during the Covid-19 outbreak. Cellcard, which is the only 100 per cent Cambodian-owned and "Proudly Khmer" mobile network

  • Former CNRP activist nabbed for offering online English classes

    Authorities detained a high school teacher in Kampong Chhnang province on Thursday after he was caught conducting online classes despite the fact that schools had been ordered to close temporarily to prevent Covid-19 infections. Keo Thai teaches at Boribo High School in Kampong Chhnang and

  • Health ministry warns against using virus-testing machines

    The Ministry of Health has threatened legal action against anyone who publicised their test results after using COVID-19 rapid testing machines. The ministry said such machines were not even approved or recognised for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It said test the results

  • National Assembly approves two coal-fired power plants

    The National Assembly (NA) unanimously approved draft laws paving the way for the construction of two coal-fired power plants worth $1.665 billion to supply 100 per cent of electricity required in the Kingdom by 2025. An NA member said at the session that the plants will be located

  • The good and bad of credit growth

    In the last 10 years, the property and construction sectors have propelled Cambodia’s economy. But rising borrowings threaten to dampen its future unless something is done soon They say all good things must come to an end, perhaps not “the” end. A slowdown in real