Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry miffed over land dispute presser



Ministry miffed over land dispute presser

An aerial view of cleared land in Oddar Meanchey province, where many locals have been forced from their homes by sugar plantations. Photo supplied
An aerial view of cleared land in Oddar Meanchey province, where many locals have been forced from their homes by sugar plantations. Photo supplied

Ministry miffed over land dispute presser

The Ministry of Commerce has criticised three non-governmental organisations for holding a news conference to draw attention to a decade-old land dispute, saying it jeopardised “the reputation, social order, peace, solidarity and national unity of Cambodia”. At the same time, the ministry said it was committed to solving the issue.

The press conference last Tuesday, organised by ActionAid Cambodia, Equitable Cambodia (EC) and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Cambodia, gave a platform to communities from Oddar Meanchey demanding compensation or the return of land seized for an ultimately failed sugar project.

EC director Eang Vuthy hit back at the ministry yesterday: “If they don’t want to continue having this negative publicity, they have to address this issue.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People watch a community building burn next to a sugar plantation belonging to Thailand’s Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation in Oddar Meanchey after authorities set it ablaze during a 2009 eviction. Photo supplied

The conflict erupted in 2008, when villagers were forcibly evicted to make way for a sugar project led by Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol. The company pulled out in 2015 following allegations of human rights violations and surrendered the land to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Ministry of Commerce statement said the fact that it had agreed to terms of reference with the European Union last June on setting up a group of experts on resolving land conflicts showed it was taking action. Hun Boramey, of ActionAid, said she was pleased the ministry confirmed the terms were finalised.

But Vuthy, of Equitable Cambodia, remained unconvinced. “The company has already left . . . so why not just give back part of the land to the villagers?”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from