Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara has urged officials to expedite the registration of State, private and indigenous community land in Mondulkiri province.
Speaking during an inter-ministerial meeting at his ministry on Wednesday, Sophara also instructed relevant authorities to speed up the process of land dispute resolution, allocation and usage planning in the province.
A report released by the ministry on Wednesday said as of July 20, around 145,633ha of State land has been registered in Mondulkiri, with 167 titles issued. The ministry has also issued 24,218 titles amounting to 191,188ha to 46 villages.
For indigenous community land, 6,156ha has been registered for seven communities, with 278 titles issued. Ten villages are in the process of systematic land registration, while six other indigenous communities are also in the process of registering their land.
“In Mondulkiri province, 22 cases of land disputes have been resolved, with 38 remaining cases. The ministry has established a committee to solve the dispute and support the registration of state, private and indigenous community land.
“It consists of 313 members divided into four sub-committees and 12 land registration groups comprising 225 members,” the report said.
The ministry has also worked with the ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Environment, and the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution, as well as the Mondulkiri provincial authorities to expedite the registration, land allocation and land usage planning in the province.
“From July 28, the committee will begin to accelerate the registration of State, private and indigenous community land, and the process of land dispute resolution and land usage planning in Mondulkiri,” the report said.
Soeung Sen Karuna, a senior investigator at rights group Adhoc, commended the land management ministry for the speedy process, though he said it was long overdue.
He urged the ministry to pay particular attention to the registration of State land as it could be grabbed by powerful officials.
“If it really is the poor who occupy State land for subsistence farming, I think the authorities should make it a priority to register it.
“But if it’s found that State land is occupied by powerful people who might hire villagers to encroach on it, then the authorities should not register the land and instead, take legal action in such cases,” he said.
Sen Karuna said if land registration is carried out properly, land disputes will no longer exist. And even if it occurs, it would be easy to resolve.
According to the Wednesday report, the ministry has so far issued 2,118 state land titles amounting to 870,000ha throughout the country, of which 740,000ha was registered as economic land concessions with 2,011 titles issued.