FIVE million hectares of land belonging to indigenous minority peoples has been appropriated for mining and agricultural land concessions in the past five years, according to new research.
Ros Han, director of Indigenous Rights Active Members (IRAM), a national indigenous peoples network, said that his organisation has recorded that 4 million hectares of communal land belonging to indigenous populations had been offered as economic land concessions to private developers since 2004, in addition to 1 million hectares of mining concessions.
The figures are based on surveys conducted in 15 provinces and cities across the country, he said, adding that the full report is due for release by the end of the year.
"Those land concessions are on the rotational farmland and spirit forests on which indigenous people depend to make their living and [preserve] their traditions," he said.
He said those most affected include indigenous minority people living in Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces.
Moeun Vuthy, a member of IRAM based in Stung Treng province, said about 400 of the province's 900 indigenous minority families had been impacted by land concessions the government had offered for rubber plantations and other agricultural developments.
He said those indigenous families who lost their rotational farmland faced increasing hardships.