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Scores of families get deeds in gov’t minority community land title plan

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Kreung indigenous people in Ratanakkiri show their land titles received on June 15. SAM OEUN NHEM VIA FACEBOOK

Scores of families get deeds in gov’t minority community land title plan

A total of 169 Kreung indigenous households in O’Chum district’s La’ak commune of Ratanakkiri province on June 15 received collectively-owned community land consisting of 13 land titles covering 1,230ha.

Ly Ousphea – director of the provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction – told The Post on June 16 that the land is located in La’ak village. One of the titles is zoned as residential and covers 16ha. Ten community land titles spanning 1,194ha are for agricultural use, one 7ha title is for an important spiritual location for the indigenous group, and the remaining title is for a 5ha plot that serves as a burial site.

Ousphea said this is the 24th time that provincial officials have registered community land titles for indigenous people in Ratanakkiri province. Excluding the June 15 title handover, he said that since 2011 a total of 475 community land titles had been granted to 23 indigenous communities with 2,255 households, spanning 24,555ha.

“We are requesting the privatisation of state land for three other communities – namely, the community in Ta Pang village of O’Yadav district’s Sesan commune; and the communities of Rieng Vinh and Pangkit villages in Teveng district’s Taveng Leu commune. And we have finished measuring two other communities’ land – one in Andong Meas district and the other in Taveng district,” he said.

Provincial governor Nhem Sam Oeun told The Post on June 16 that these land titles are very important documents as they represent the property of the whole community. They are the ownership documents that allow them to continue to use the land belonging to them and prevent them from losing it due to land disputes.

“The lands that have been registered collectively in the land document, as well as the issuance of land titles, will strongly ensure that their ownership of the land is guaranteed by the state and protected by law so they can rely on the use of the land according to its type,” he said.

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Rattanakiri governor Nhem Samoeun hands over collective land titles to Kreung indigenous people in O’Chum district. RATTANAKKIRI ADMINISTRATION

Sam Oeun said that registering community land was to strengthen the safety of land ownership and the protection of natural resources by those communities in a sustainable way. This will help the land to be used to its potential as well as help to end land disputes between one village and another. He said they believe that it will also contribute to poverty reduction, which is one of the main goals of this community land registration for indigenous people.

The governor reminded the beneficiaries – the indigenous people from the two villages – that they have to protect the community land they hold title to properly. They have to be united in protecting all of the land that has been registered to them for sustainable use to preserve them for future generations.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said he was happy for the Kreung community to have received these land titles.

He said land disputes have been problems in many places across the country, especially in areas where indigenous people live and he urged the authorities to continue this policy of granting community land titles.

“Although they are indigenous people, they have rights and should have the freedom to use own their land like Khmer citizens,” he said.

Chin Malin, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said that providing community land titles for indigenous people reflects the government’s respect for indigenous people and all ethnic minorities in the Kingdom. He noted that these principles are also part of Cambodian law because of the relevant conventions and treaties to which Cambodia is a signatory.

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