The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction said on Tuesday that it had completed handing out land concessions to 1,382 families in Kampong Damrei commune, in Kratie province’s Chhlong district.
Its statement came as some residents claimed they never received the land.
The ministry said the provincial administration and land division committee had separated families who were entitled to the land into three groups and completed handing it over on June 10.
The ministry said the government followed social land procedures using legal documents.
“The authorities will not bring that new cases for a solution and will take strict legal action against [the protesters],” it said.
District governor Heng Sotha confirmed on Wednesday that land disputes there have been resolved. He said the 1,382 families had received their land from the dispute resolution committee.
The committee, he said, had studied and identified the land thoroughly before measuring and handing it over to the people.
He said while the authorities were handing land to the poor, others incited locals to stage a new protest to claim more land to sell.
“We have resolved the cases. But if more people are protesting, we will not have more land to hand to them.
“There are people who are not so happy because they want to have land in particular locations. But as authorities, we cannot meet all their expectations but only follow the procedures,” he said.
Yos Sra Em, who claimed to represent 31 families in the commune, said while 20 of them had received 2ha each from the government, the other 11 families had not. He said the authorities claimed they were not qualified to receive the land.
“I received 2ha, but lost a total of 7ha. I’m happy to get some part of the land back, though. In my group, 11 families did not receive any land.
“So I appeal to the authorities to continue solving the problem and provide people with land because they are poor. They don’t have land for farming to earn a living,” he said.
Chhin Sophat, another resident in the commune, said she has not received land from the dispute resolution committee.
She said she filed a petition to the land management ministry last year. “I sent a letter to the ministry last year but haven’t received any response. When the land was measured to be handed to people, they just ignored me. I don’t know why they did this,” she said.
Thim Horn, a provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said while he welcomed the completion of handing land to the people, he urged the authorities to study the remaining cases. He said not all residents in Kampong Damrei had received land.
“I support the warning to those who already received land and want more. But I don’t support it when the authorities warn those who have not received land. Authorities should solve their problems, not give warnings,” he said.