Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land title figures released, disputed

Land title figures released, disputed

Youth volunteers are briefed on Koh Pich before departing Phnom Penh
Youth volunteers are briefed on Koh Pich before departing Phnom Penh to take part in the government’s land measurement and titling scheme in 2012. Heng Chivoan

Land title figures released, disputed

The Ministry of Land Management has given out 3.8 million land titles to Cambodian citizens from 1989 until November this year, according to a statement released on December 22 and obtained by the Post yesterday.

In the same period, the Cambodian government says it had repurposed a total of 1.2 million hectares of land – 380,000 of which came from 134 economic land concession companies, 270,000 from 17 forest concession companies and more than 530,000 hectares from state and forest lands.

Despite the seemingly impressive figure, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians have been affected by land disputes, land documents have at times failed to shield residents from eviction and NGOs and the government are quick to disagree over the number of people affected.

“The figure of $3.8 million was counted from the start of the cadastral commission since 1989,” said Lor Davuth, director of the Ministry of Land Management’s General Department of Cadastre and Geography.

Since a May 2012 order, which began a process of land demarcation in the Kingdom, Davuth added that they have released 610,000 land titles.

But while those figures seem accurate, said Chet Charya, executive director of NGO Star Kampuchea, there are still some problems in handing out land titles to citizens.

“There are difficulties in the process of giving land titles . . . because the local people and the authorities themselves don’t study the land well, and sometimes that could cause land conflicts,” Charya said.

According to the ministry’s Davuth, some NGOs – including Adhoc and Licadho – have overblown figures relating to land disputes in the past, creating a negatively skewed picture of land issues in Cambodia. Based on the ministry’s statement, they have encountered a total of 6,558 land conflict cases since 1989 and solved 5,716 cases, which affected 14,719 families.

“The figures released by some NGOs make it feel like it is worse in Cambodia, but the government finds it less serious,” Davuth said.

The cadastral commission’s report on the first six months of the year, however, only recorded 85 complaints affecting 70 families.

By comparison, Adhoc’s count found that 2,617 families have been affected by land disputes in the first three months of 2014 alone, a figure Adhoc’s land protection head Lat Ky defended yesterday.

“Our report on land-related conflicts is a case study where we went into the field and directly met people affected by land disputes,” Ky said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the