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Let evicted villagers harvest rice: groups

Let evicted villagers harvest rice: groups

A COALITION of NGOs plan to file a joint petition to the provincial governor of Oddar Meanchey on Monday asking that villagers whose homes were destroyed in a violent eviction be allowed to harvest the rice crop on their former land, an NGO representative said on Sunday.

Srey Naren, Adhoc coordinator for Oddar Meanchey, said he has collected thumbprints from representatives of more than 11 NGOs to allow the harvest to go ahead

“Everything is already prepared, and the letter should be sent Monday,” he said.

The harvest controversy is the latest chapter in a dispute over some 1,500 hectares of land claimed by both the residents of Bos village and the Angkor Sugar Company, which is owned by Ly Yongphat, a senator from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

In early October, armed police descended on the village, bulldozing property and burning some houses to the ground.

Thon Nol, Samrong district governor, said he had not received the letter, but that villagers were likely to clash if they were allowed to bring in their own harvest.

“Each family claimed to have planted from 5 to 10 hectares, but when they showed us the plots, it turned out they overlapped,” he said.

Huoy Chhuoy, a representative of the village’s 214 displaced families, said he would allow his family to bring in the harvest, but that he would not return for fear of arrest.

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