Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Meeting details land seizures



Meeting details land seizures

Meeting details land seizures

091218_02
A woman screams after her mother faints during violent land evictions at Dey Krahorm in January.

HUMAN rights activists on Thursday condemned the government’s granting of economic land concessions at the expense of local communities, as hundreds of evictees from across the Kingdom gathered to discuss their treatment at the hands of the authorities.

According to a statement by the Cambodian rights group Adhoc, last year the government granted only 409 hectares – or 0.2 percent – of the total 225,499 hectares of land concessions to ordinary citizens, while the remaining 99.8 percent was awarded to 71 private companies.

Chan Soveth, Adhoc’s senior monitoring officer, said that indigenous and Khmer communities alike frequently experience a sense of insignificance in the eyes of the authorities.

“In 2008, there were 25 cases of forced eviction across the country,” he said. “These affected 10,526 families, or 46,095 people, who were driven from their land without advance consultation and ignored by the state authorities because of claims about development. We in civil society would like to call on the government to stop the granting of economic land concessions.”

At the same time, homegrown indigenous filmmakers showcased work documenting their eviction experiences. The films were shown at an annual land-rights meeting in Kratie province that attracted more than 350 ethnic minority and Khmer community members.

Phok Pal, national creative media training coordinator for the Indigenous Community Support Organisation (ICSO), which hosted the meeting, said: “They are singing about their concerns: land conflict, mining, depleted natural resources, and at the same time about their villages and their traditional culture.”

Svay Poeun, 57, a member of the Phnong minority, said hundreds of families in his area were affected by the gold-mining explorations of Chinese company IRON Investment.

“The Phnong minority who live there used to survive on traditional gold and iron mining, but when the company came, we lost our incomes, and living conditions became more difficult,” Svay Poeun said, adding that the company’s methods had severely damaged the local environment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there