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Villagers seek NGO help in land disputes

Villagers seek NGO help in land disputes

About 300 villagers from four districts in Kandal province embroiled in land disputes yesterday requested that rights workers file a complaint against several private companies they claim had used the courts to threaten residents.

Residents from seven vill-ages in Ponhea Leu, Kien Svay, Kandal Stung and Takhmao districts accompanied 84 vill-age representatives to request that staffers from rights group Adhoc intervene with firms including SKD Factory and Heng Apiwat Development.

“We wonder why we filed a complaint to the court and did not get any action, and why we got arrest warrants,” 50-year-old villager Kouy Chan Thorn, from Ponhea Leu district, said.

He claimed that 134 famil-ies from his village had been involved in a dispute over 155 hectares of land since 1995.  Three villagers had been detained in jail since February and six had fled to avoid arrest.

Villager Sam San, 67, from Kien Svay district, said he had filed complaints, but villagers still had warrants issued for their arrests.

Provincial governor Chhun Sirun told the Post he had not seen complaints from the vill-agers, and that they needed to officially lodge complaints rather than make accusations.

Representatives from SKD and Heng Apiwat could not be reached for comment.

Adhoc senior monitor Chan Soveth said yesterday 31 people from the seven villages had been issued with arrest warrants and three had been detained in prison.


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