Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land laws not properly implimented

Land laws not properly implimented

Land laws not properly implimented

130130 05
An ethnic minority group evicted from Ratanakkiri’s Lumphat district in a long-standing dispute with concessionnaire DM Group. A minorities’ forum says the implementation of land laws needs improving. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Laws protecting ethnic minorities’ communal land rights are good, but their implementation has a long way to go, said participants in a forum of minorities from Mondulkiri and Kratie provinces yesterday.

After July’s parliamentary elections, legislators should take the opportunity of a newly constituted government to focus more attention on protecting the rights of minorities involved in land disputes, speakers said at the forum, hosted in Kratie by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and attended by members of all parties but the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“Actually, land laws are good for minorities, but their implementation is not effective,” said Blek Mil, a villager of the Phnoung ethnic group from Mondulkiri’s O’Raing district.

Collective farms, plantations and graveyards are among the areas belonging to ethnic minorities that are technically protected by law, but companies granted economic land concessions and wealthy individuals are able to violate the law with impunity, often assisted by violence, said Mil and other forum participants.

“We urge that the fifth term of the government resolves these problems,” he said, referring to the legislature that will take its seat after the country’s fifth round of National Assembly elections under the current constitution.  

Mil said his community had recently received a land title, but the process had been long and arduous, and he knew of many communities still struggling for titles in the face of encroachment by other groups and individuals.

“Because of complicated procedures, minorities often face the problem of not having rights as a legal person to register collective land titles,” said Van Sophat, co-ordinator of CCHR’s land reform program and the forum.

To receive titles, groups must first work to be officially recognised as minority communities by authorities, Sophat said.

Koy Sokharith, deputy secretary general of the Nationalist Party headed by Sao Rany, which will join the Funcinpec Party after the elections, said that in the new term of government, the party would push for better implementation of the land law.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]


  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not