Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land disputes increase: report

Land disputes increase: report

NGO Forum Executive Director Tek Vannara speaks about a report on the Kingdom’s land disputes yesterday in Phnom Penh.
NGO Forum Executive Director Tek Vannara speaks about a report on the Kingdom’s land disputes yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Land disputes increase: report

There were 56 new land disputes across the country last year, adding to 314 unresolved case at the end of 2015, a report issued yesterday by the NGO Forum on Cambodia says, marking the highest number of new cases since the group started monitoring in 2007.

The NGO Forum report was launched yesterday in Phnom Penh and shows that the closest to 2016’s bumper year for new disputes was 2012, when 46 new disputes were registered.

Last year’s figure is also a large leap from 2015, which saw only 23 cases. “This is because development activity around Phnom Penh has increased, and other areas where land has been given to foreign companies for agricultural purposes,”said Tek Vannara, the executive director of NGO Forum, which is a coalition of groups.

The report also says that only 58 pre-existing disputes were resolved in 2016, far lower than each of the preceding four years except for 2015, when only 21 cases were resolved. The low number of resolutions came even as the other 314 unresolved cases affected more than 54,000 households, and covered over a million hectares, it says.

Vong Kosal, NGO Forum’s land safety coordinator, said authorities had been slow in solving cases because they did not want to become involved in disputes. “The authorities do not have the will to solve the problem for the people,” Kosal said. “The land grabbers are powerful and rich, and the land disputes are political, so the solution is postponed.”

Am Sam Ath, head of monitoting at rights group Licadho, which is part of the NGO Forum, said the high new number of cases showed the urgency of dealing with land disputes. “They [the affected] need to earn a living, and when their land is being exploited they have no time to think about their jobs.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,