Nearly 50 families in Koh Kong province’s Kiri Sakor district will finally receive official titles after repeatedly requesting – and being denied – student volunteers to measure their land, the villagers’ commune chief said yesterday.
Koh Pol commune chief Ev Kosal, who participated in the meeting between local authorities and land department officials at Koh Kong City Hall, confirmed that authorities had indeed agreed to send youth volunteers to demarcate villagers’ land, cementing what villagers feared was becoming a tenuous living situation.
Villager representative In Chron, 52, said the families’ land had gone unmeasured since the start of the volunteer-titling program, raising fears among residents that their homes and farmland would be forfeited unless they could prove their legal ownership.
“We were afraid of having to move our houses and plantations, because this area is a conservation area,” she said. “We need land titles. That’s why we demanded them from the authorities many times, but at Monday’s gathering, they agreed to allow student [land measurers] to come.”
Fellow representative Sok Kherun said volunteers had wanted to measure the land in the first place, but were not allowed, and noted that, like other villagers, he had lived most of his 60 years in the area without receiving a title.
“We wondered why they did not come to measure our land, and some residents measured it already,” he said. “It was not fair at all.”