Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Krom families protest eviction

Krom families protest eviction

Krom families protest eviction

Sixty-eight Khmer Krom families in Takeo province allege they are being forcibly evicted, charged by fishery authorities with illegally occupying a nature preserve.

Yesterday, three representatives from the Borei Choslar district, Sangkum Meanchey village, were summonsed to court.

“We were afraid we would be arrested, so we had to thumbprint a statement agreeing that we will not go to work on our rice fields again,” said Vy Chan, 56, one of the Khmer Krom representatives. “But, we will still go to work on our fields, because we have grown them since the 1990s.”

The villagers, who immigrated to the area from Can Tho, Vietnam, claim squatters' rights on the land, which a 2007 sub-decree established as a 8,000-hectare wildlife sanctuary.

“Don’t say [the villagers] came first. They came to clear the land after we [installed] a protected area,” said Sao Kosal, deputy director of the provincial fisheries administration.

But land officials say the villagers may have grounds to contest the eviction orders.

“There are laws and guidelines protecting local communities’ rights,” said Beng Hong Socheat Khemro, a spokesman for the Ministry of Land Management. “[Forestry officials] cannot just put up a fence and call it a protected area.”

The villagers plan to file a complaint with provincial authorities next week, and rights groups have agreed to help.

“We are concerned for their case, because they don’t have any lawyers to represent them before the court and their case is not being treated fairly,” said Ang Chanrith, executive director of the Minority Rights Organization.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget