Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land disputes centre stage at capital forum

Land disputes centre stage at capital forum

Land disputes centre stage at capital forum

A broad spectrum of villager representatives, civil society organisations and government officials – large land-concession holders among them – met in the capital for the ninth year in a row yesterday to discuss the Kingdom’s seemingly intractable issue of land disputes.

The latest iteration of the event once again called for an expedient solution to ongoing disputes and registration issues and for a thorough study to be launched into the social and environmental effects of large-scale economic land concessions (ELCs).

Lorn Savy, a land and forest community representative from Pursat province, said that while authorities often give cases of alleged abuse a cursory examination, solutions are seldom found.

“Once the community faces challenges, they [authorities] only inspect the cases . . . not many solutions have been figured out,” she said.

NGO Forum executive director Tek Vannara yesterday held that it was the government’s responsibility to measure land, create a standardised land compensation policy and monitor environmental and social impacts.

Ruling-party Senator and land concessionaire Mong Reththy, whose companies were placed on a Ministry of Environment watch list in March for purportedly failing to live up to investment provisions, said a lack of understanding between parties had slowed solutions to land disputes.

“We need time to understand each other . . . Sometimes, the demanders ask for too much, and sometimes, the demanders ask for less, but they still do not get the claim,” he said.

Land Management Ministry spokesman Sarun Rithear welcomed suggestions, but said that existing government mechanisms were by and large doing their job.

“For land registration, we have completed four million plots of land and many land disputes have been ended as well. We will continue solving those problems. We accept this appeal,” he said.

Environment Ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap said the ministry works with communities affected by ELCs in protected areas in order to “take into account the priority of the people”.

But Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee chief Suon Bunsak, echoing a longstanding criticism of the government, said that while there are laws on the books, the failure of authorities to respect them remains an obstacle.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALESSANDRO MARAZZI SASSOON

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Police warn boycott FB group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign”

    Police said on Tuesday that they will pick up members of a Facebook group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign” that promotes a boycott of next month’s national elections. However, police merely planned to “educate” the group for now, but warned that if the

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk