The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction pledged to complete registering up to 94 per cent of land by next year and 100 per cent of some seven million plots by 2021.
To that end, the ministry on Thursday launched its 21-point plan and strategy for implementation to ensure rightful ownership and minimise land disputes.
In a press release dated December 25, the ministry said it had so far completed 80.22 per cent of land registrations.
It said its working group had been expediting the process of resolving remaining land disputes through existing mechanisms, including the National Authority for Resolution of Land Disputes, the Cadastral Committee and mobile dispute resolution units.
So far, the ministry has received a total of 12,573 complaints, 10,106 of which have been resolved while 2,467 others are being addressed.
It said it will continue to register land for 10 ethnic communities a year. So far, the ministry has registered land for 30 ethnic communities, or 3,033 families – equivalent to 819 titles involving a total of 28,522.52ha.
Its minister Chea Sophara said during a recent conference on the ministry’s achievements for the year, that great efforts had been made to register the people’s land and real estate.
He said the ministry had striven to solve all types of land disputes through the creation of committees and provision of valid documentation under the law.
As a result, he said the number of land disputes had decreased considerably.
“The ministry will put greater effort to address land disputes in an equitable, transparent and highly effective manner to increase the people’s income and reduce poverty in society,” he said.
Yun Lorang, the coordinator for the Secretariat of the Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance, said while he applauded the ministry’s commitment, he was concerned about improper community land registration and encroachment by companies that had received economic land concessions.
In some cases, he said the government first registered land for ethnic communities but later ceded it to companies, leading to protests.
“I would like to urge the government to speed up registration of ethnic community land so that they can rightfully own it and legally farm there. Only proper registration can ensure security for them.
“The authorities need to expedite the process of resolving land disputes between ethnic communities and companies and registering their land,” he said.
Am Sam Ath, the head of monitoring at rights group Licadho, said land registration for citizens was key to ensuring rightful ownership and preventing encroachment by well-connected companies.
He said land disputes are generally caused by a lack of proper land titles or valid documentation.
He urged the relevant authorities to speed up dispute resolution and land registration processes, and prevent encroachment on private and state land.
“I support the authorities’ commitment and resolution mechanism to resolve the people’s land disputes. But I want to see them speedily resolve the remaining disputes so that the affected people can easily register their land.
“Another issue is that action must be taken immediately against anyone found to have encroached on the people’s or state land,” he said.