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

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group