Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers register in land dispute



Villagers register in land dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Members of Kampong Speu’s Oral district community talk to the media in 2016 after retracting their previous complaint about Phnom Penh Sugar’s land compensation payments. Heng Chivoan

Villagers register in land dispute

The Kampong Speu provincial authority said on Wednesday that its task force has completed registering thousands of families in Oral district who have been locked in a long-running land dispute with a sugar plantation owned by a well-connected tycoon.

Provincial governor Vy Samnang said the registration is meant to find out the origins of villagers in the area and comes a week after a third field visit by officials from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“We are identifying how many families are original landowners and outsiders coming through civil society organisations. We are working on it. There are families that came to settle down there through NGOs and then claimed the tycoon grabbed their land,” he said.

Samnang said each family was required to bring their legal documents such as identity cards and land titles to prove their original ownership.

“There are not many ethnic families. However, we discovered many families that came through civil society organizations and are distinguishing between them and the outsiders. We are verifying their documents and have asked them to submit their documents,” he said.

The dispute began in 2010 when more than 1,500 families were evicted from land they had cultivated since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 to make way for a mega-sugarcane plantation by Phnom Penh Sugar, a company owned by prominent tycoon Ly Yong Phat.

Last week, OHCHR officials visited the community to monitor a resolution process initiated by the company.

OHCHR Representative Simon Walker said in an email on Tuesday that the rights organization had been monitoring the resolution process between the communities and the company.

“During OHCHR’s visit to Kampong Speu last week, we received information about parallel resolution initiatives organised by the company. Affected communities indicated to OHCHR that they were confused by the parallel processes,” he said.

Samnang said the sugar company had not been engaged in the registration process, though it had dealt directly with the communities to work out a compromise.

“The company said it had sought a solution concerning compensation for some communities. Now it needs to verify the process,” he said.

Simon said OHCHR would continue to monitor the land dispute.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,

  • More than 540 deported in first nine months

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) deported 542 foreigners in the first nine months of this year for various offences. GDI spokesman Keo Vanthan said the deportees were a mix of 40 nationalities, most of them Chinese. Since 2014, he said the GDI had