Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land disputes plummet: gov’t

Land disputes plummet: gov’t

Villagers from Koh Kong province march towards the National Assembly earlier this month to deliver a petition calling for government intervention in a land dispute.
Villagers from Koh Kong province march towards the National Assembly earlier this month to deliver a petition calling for government intervention in a land dispute. Hong Menea

Land disputes plummet: gov’t

Ministry of Land Management spokesman Seng Lot on Radio France International yesterday trumpeted a 90 per cent dip in the number of registered land disputes in Cambodia amid major strides by the ministry’s land-titling program.

“There used to be nearly 7,500 cases, now the latest statistics we have gathered from every city and province show that we have solved all but about 700 cases,” Lot said. “About 7 million plots of land need to be registered; as of now, we have finished 62 per cent.”

Multiple representatives at the Ministry of Land Management, including Lot, Minister Chea Sophara and Secretary of State Sarun Rithea, could not be reached yesterday to clarify over what time period this decrease had taken place.

But Naly Pilorge, deputy director of advocacy at rights group Licadho, yesterday said while her NGO did not have figures for this year, last year’s suggested there had been no slowdown in the emergence of new land disputes.

“Our last count of investigations in 2015 showed continued increase in the number of land disputes and conflicts,” Pilorge wrote yesterday.

Chea Sophara took charge of the Land Management Ministry in April and ordered the establishment of land dispute resolution teams in one of his earliest acts. In July, 27 four-man land dispute resolution teams were created to address an initial 84 complaints across the country.

“Land issues are complicated. The ministry said they will be responsible, and that’s a very good comment, but we’ll wait to see the action,” Eang Vuthy, executive director of land rights NGO Equitable Cambodia, said at the time.

Current land disputants spoken to by the Post yesterday expressed doubt at the claims of widespread success.

Teng Kao, engaged in a land dispute with the Thai-owned Koh Kong Sugar and Plantation companies since 2006, said yesterday he could not believe the number of disputes could have gone down.

“Before, the disputes were only in Sre Ambel, now they’re in Botum Sakor district [as well],” Kao said. “I think it’s not good. If it was good they would have come to find a solution for us.”

In Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nop district, Hour Sino represents a community of 306 families locked in a land dispute with a water supply company. She was not convinced by either Lot’s titling or dispute resolution claims.

“I think this is just an excuse to avoid solving land disputes for people,” Sino said. “I don’t see any concrete results in any region that would suggest land titles are being allocated properly.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for