Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Preah Sihanouk villagers seeking intervention over land dispute

Preah Sihanouk villagers seeking intervention over land dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Nearly 300 people representing 9,095 families in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday filed a petition to the provincial administration seeking intervention in a long-running land dispute. Photo supplied

Preah Sihanouk villagers seeking intervention over land dispute

Nearly 300 people representing 9,095 families in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday filed a petition to the provincial administration seeking intervention in a long-running land dispute.

The villagers submitted the petition after their initial request to hold a march to coincide with the 71st international Human Rights Day on Tuesday was rejected.

In their petition, the representatives said the 9,095 families risked losing their homes and 16,609ha of farmland in Prey Nop and Stung Hav districts to “powerful individuals” if there was no compromise.

They urged the provincial governor and the director of the provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction to speedily demarcate land for them and issue titles.

“We have built homes and occupied and cultivated the land for our livelihoods since 1990-1995. We lived on the land peacefully until 2005-2008, when private companies, traders and powerful individuals grabbed it.

“We are the rightful owners with valid certificates proving our occupation of the land. We also have documentation issued by the local authorities including identification cards and family books,” the petition states.

Yu Veasna, one of the representatives, said the provincial authority had accepted the petition after turning down their requests to march or hold a public forum.

“We want to send a message to the government, asking it to expedite the process and urge the provincial governor to find a speedy solution for us. Our communities have been locked in this land dispute for between 15 and 20 years already,” he said.

Veasna said the Preah Sihanouk administration had accepted the petition and agreed to forward it to the provincial governor.

Last Tuesday, representatives of 11 communities in the province sent a request to the provincial governor inviting him to join 250 other villagers – all of whom are involved in the land dispute – in celebrating Human Rights Day.

Citing reasons for the rejection, the provincial administration said it regularly organised public forums at each town, district and commune to hear and address people’s concerns, and also held consultative forums with civil society twice a year concerning land disputes and other requests from villagers.

Provincial administration spokesman Kheang Phearum confirmed the acceptance of the villagers’ petition.

“We allowed six of the representatives to submit the petition and other documentation because they did not cause any incident. But we cannot allow them to march or hold a forum,” Phearum said.

Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, called on the provincial authority to find the villagers a solution to the long-standing land dispute. She stressed that while holding regular consultative forums with civil society is welcome, this could not end all land disputes.

“Submitting a petition to the provincial administration is not an act of protest, it is just a public appeal for a solution to their long-running land dispute. It serves as a reminder of their basic right to property ownership and legitimate settlement,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the