Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wetlands threatened by coastal land grabs

Wetlands threatened by coastal land grabs

Authorities inspect a construction site in Preah Sihanouk earlier this year after a construction project destroyed hectares of mangrove forest along the province’s coast. Photo supplied
Authorities inspect a construction site in Preah Sihanouk earlier this year after a construction project destroyed hectares of mangrove forest along the province’s coast. Photo supplied

Wetlands threatened by coastal land grabs

The Council of Ministers has urged the Ministry of Land Management to crack down on coastal land grabbing in response to a report that found the practice was destroying the Kingdom’s wetlands.

The Post yesterday obtained a letter signed by Council of Ministers undersecretary Sou Phirin and sent on June 16 in response to a report produced by the Ministry of Agriculture 10 days earlier and signed off by the prime minister on June 13.

The report found that the Kingdom’s coastal mangrove swamps were being filled in and titles were being illicitly issued for the newly formed land in Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot and Kong Kong provinces.

“Our ministry asked for intervention over the anarchic grabbing of mangroves happening in the coastal provinces,” Agriculture Ministry spokesman Lor Raksmey said yesterday.

In the June 16 letter, Phirin “recommended” that Land Management Minister Chea Sophara annul and withdraw land titles issued by the Ministry of Land Management and local officials for former mangrove swamps in the four provinces.

A senior Ministry of Land Management official, who asked for anonymity while the ministry formulates its official response, said they had inspected the listed sites and that land titles would be revoked, but did not specify how many.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Buon Narith, Preah Sihanouk provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, yesterday said that in past two years, at least 100 hectares of mangrove had been filled in during land grabs in Prey Nop district and Sihanoukville alone.

Provincial Governor Yon Min said local authorities had already cracked down on many developments in former mangrove areas.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.