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Government pledges to resolve land dispute in Preah Vihear

Government pledges to resolve land dispute in Preah Vihear

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Villagers from Preah Vihear province protest in Phnom Penh Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Officials from Prime Minister’s Hun Sen’s cabinet yesterday accepted the petition of 110 Preah Vihear villager representatives seeking intervention in a land dispute with defunct NGO DARPO.

Hun Sen cabinet member Nov Ra told villagers who protested in front of the prime minister’s house to return home and pledged that “local authorities will resolve the issue on October 19”.

Preah Vihear provincial deputy governor Un Chenda said the provincial hall had already sent parties letters to meet on October 19.

“The villagers went to Phnom Penh without paying attention to our attempts to resolve the issue,” he said.

He said a meeting to resolve the dispute arranged by Choam Ksan district authorities in June, and supported by Hun Sen’s cabinet, had failed because DARPO president Pen Lim had failed to attend.

“This time the provincial hall will send Pen Lim a letter telling him that if he does not come they will take legal action against him,” Chenda said.

Lor Chan, from rights group Adhoc, said provincial authorities could not resolve the dispute because some had benefited from DARPO’s distribution of the 556 hectares it was granted in 2007.

Only national authorities could bring justice to the 477 affected families, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at [email protected]

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