Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wildlife area made private

Wildlife area made private

Wildlife area made private

ALMOST 10,000 hectares of a wildlife sanctuary in Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom provinces have been reclassified as state private land, paving the way for private development in the area that could affect local residents.

According to a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 19, some 9,993 hectares of land in Preah Vihear’s Rovieng district and Kompong Thom’s Sandan district have been earmarked for possible cultivation of rubber and other permanent crops.

Sandan district governor Sim Vanna said villagers had settled throughout the area, but did not have legal rights to their properties.

“People live on the land illegally – they just live there temporarily for farming, and they leave when they finish,” Sim Vanna said. He said that he was unsure how many people might be affected by the repurposing of the land, but that the transition would likely take place without incident.

“It will affect people if the land is given as a land concession, but I think the government will evaluate and study the consequences clearly before granting the land to a company,” Sim Vanna said.

Nhem Sarat, Kampong Thom provincial monitor for local rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that he planned to consult the affected villagers to see if they wanted to file a complaint.

No private companies are currently operating in the area, Sim Vanna said.

Forestry Administration director Chheng Kim Son said the area was not his responsibility. Chay Samith, the acting conservation director at the Ministry of Environment, said he was in a meeting and could not comment.

Prak Saran, the Adhoc coordinator in Preah Vihear, said he too was unsure of how many people would be affected by the repurposing or whether it would disturb the wildlife sanctuary. He urged the government to investigate these issues as development moves forward.

“If the development affects people’s livelihoods, the government should have a solution for that,” Prak Saran said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman