Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New teams to settle land disputes announced

New teams to settle land disputes announced

Newly appointed Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara (pictured at podium) last week established 27 new land dispute working groups in an effort to speed up land conflict resolution across the Kingdom.
Newly appointed Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara (pictured at podium) last week established 27 new land dispute working groups in an effort to speed up land conflict resolution across the Kingdom. Pha Lina

New teams to settle land disputes announced

Newly appointed Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara last week established a working group comprising 27 four-man teams tasked with hastening the resolution of land disputes.

According to a letter issued by the Ministry of Land Management on Friday, each team will be assigned three disputes to bring to a close, reporting the results back to the ministry.

Secretary of State for the Ministry of Land Management Sarun Rithea yesterday insisted that the creation of the teams was not indicative of flaws in existing dispute resolution mechanisms.

Civil society members working on land issues, meanwhile, were tentatively hopeful that the new teams might bring meaningful results.

Rights group Adhoc’s head of land rights Latt Ky said he hoped it was a harbinger of good things to come from Sophara, who took office as minister of land management at the start of April.

“I think it’s a good initiative by the new minister of land management, he’s trying to settle land disputes in Cambodia. On the other hand, it’s a good commitment from him to take action. It’s my impression that this is a good thing,” Ky said, adding that he will “wait and see” what comes of the new groups.

“The problem of land disputes remains year to year, again and again,” he continued. “I think that for a fair solution that’s good for the victims [we need] community participation and the observation of NGOs working with the community, because NGOs play a very important role.”

Asked whether Adhoc had been invited to collaborate with the ministry’s new teams, he replied: “Everybody knows Adhoc is working on legal advice and assistance to land disputes, so sometimes we know the way to provide a fair solution to the community. So if the ministry is calling, we will have a collaboration.”

Equitable Cambodia executive director Eang Vuthy, however, sounded a more cautious note.

“Let’s see what can happen. If they’re serious we want to see a real result from that. There has been so many committees established, but we hope that this one will make a difference,” Vuthy said. “So far there’s not been anyone good [working on the issue].”

“Land disputes are a very sensitive issue, it needs high level intervention and political will,” he continued.

“The prime minister has been talking a lot. Different ministries have been supporting what the prime minister said, but let’s see. It’s been very slow.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half

  • Breaking: Rubbish found packed inside 83 containers at S'ville port

    Eighty-three containers packed with rubbish were broken open at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port by joint authorities on Tuesday. The origin of the containers has yet to be ascertained, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. Pheaktra, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state, said

  • Some jobs off limits to foreigners from August

    Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs. Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will