Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land spats top 200 last year: Adhoc

Land spats top 200 last year: Adhoc

Land spats top 200 last year: Adhoc

110209_4
A man looks on as Shukaku Inc employees use an excavator to direct the flow of sand and water, which inundated local residents’ homes as the company filled in part of Boeung Kak lake in December.

Farmers need rice fields and if they lose land, they lose what the depend on for living.

Two hundred-and-two land dispute cases affecting 25,796 families were recorded in Cambodia last year, according to human rights group Adhoc.

Adhoc Land Programme Officer Ouch Leng said yesterday that 23 cases involved forced evictions affecting 12,389 families and 14 cases involved 8,025 hectares in land concessions for private companies.

“The government’s mechanism to solve the land disputes does not pay attention or take measures to stop the spread of disputes that make the communities hopeless,” he said.

Ouch Leng said that in land disputes, companies did not discuss development plans with the people, instead working with the authorities and armed forces to announce that the land belonged to them.

Ouch Leng added that last year 14,316 people protested 168 times against land disputes with 23 cases dispersed by armed forces.

“The authorities accused the protesters of incitement and turmoil,” he said. “If they did not lose land, they would not spend time and money protesting.”

Ouch Leng said that in 2010, 14 companies involved in land disputes were not registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and another 28 companies were unregistered but listed in government sub-decrees.

“The presence of the private companies made the villagers worry a lot because they did not improve their standard of living, but made them lose their land.”

According to Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data, between 1993 and June 2010, the government signed contracts with 142 private companies, conceding more than 1,385,555 hectares of land.

Among the 142 companies, 43 companies have been shut down and 99 companies are operating across 17 provinces.

Community Legal Education Center director Yeng Virak said that the government should recheck the offering of land for private companies because it affects citizens.

“Farmers need rice fields and if they lose land, they lose what they depend on for living,” he said.

Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction spokesman Nun Pheany said that specialist officials always evaluate the effect before making a request to the government.

“We always evaluate the effect before allowing the companies to invest,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked