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Ethnic cultural centre in land dispute

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The Hill Tribes Cultural Centre land in dispute is located on Dos Kramom mountain in Sen Monorom town’s Sokdum commune in Mondulkiri province. KREUNG TOLA VIA FACEBOOK

Ethnic cultural centre in land dispute

A Bunong ethnic community representative on Tuesday claimed Mondulkiri provincial officials have not begun measuring land for the Hill Tribes Cultural Centre in the Phnom Dos Kramom mountain area even though they had received an order to do so from Prime Minister Hun Sen late last month.

Provincial officials responded that they were busy working on a resolution.

The cultural centre’s representative, Kreung Tola, said the community wanted to see Mondulkiri officials demarcate a plot of land around Phnom Dos Kramom mountain to clarify what part of the area will form the site of the centre.

He claimed the government announced in 2004 that it would allocate 102ha of land from the foot of the mountain to the peak for the Hill Tribes Cultural Centre, but there were now more than 100 families and two karaoke clubs encroaching on the land.

Tola said provincial officials held a meeting following a February 28 speech by the prime minister ordering them to repossess the land in question, but they had failed to set a clear date to do so.

“All relevant officials gathered, but they have not gone to Phnom Dos Kramom for land measurements yet, nor have they used GPS to put down posts [around the perimeter].”

The meeting, presided by Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang, focused on finding ways to tackle the issue following a 2016 report which designated clear boundaries and the retention of the land by the provincial departments of the ministries of Mines and Energy, Industry and Handicraft, and the department of civil service, Tola said.

‘I’ve already solved it’

Responding to Tola’s comments, the provincial governor said a resolution to the Phnom Dos Kramom land issues had been agreed to by all involved parties.

“I’ve resolved it. These rude people, I’ve already solved it and they go on that I didn’t!” Sam Eang said.

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Long Vibol, governor of Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom town, echoed Tola’s comments that many meetings had been held to tackle the issue prior to the prime minister’s order, and there were now only 11 families in the dispute.

The issue is nearing completion and all relevant authorities needed to set a clear timeframe to measure the land and clarify what goes to the people and what will form the Hill Tribes Cultural Centre. They will then report back to the prime minister, he said.

Eang Mengly, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said authorities should outline the land for the cultural centre according to the prime minister’s order.

“I think people are demanding back all the land that was indicated by the government, and now they are encroaching on land. The [ethnic] people want to see a real resolution.”

However, Tola claimed that though the government announced that the 102ha would belong to the Hill Tribes Cultural Centre, only 87ha now is.

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