Community representatives from across Cambodia gather in Phnom Penh to demand an end to land concessions, threats, intimidation and use of violence by companies and powerful people.

“Not only is our land being given away, we are facing increasing intimidation and violence. The problem is getting worse. We have no choice but to gather together and have a combined voice”.  Community representatives from across Cambodia,

Mr Som Chaing (Preah Vihear province)

Mr. Sarine Kait (Kratie province)

Mr. Rajom Tweng (Ratanakiri province)

Ms. Laon Ceevy (Pursat province)

“Systematic threats, violence and intimidation continue to be targeted against human rights defenders, especially those working on land issues. Only through genuine consultation and engagement of the affected communities will there be any resolution.”

Kek Galabru, President of the Cambodia League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO)

Where: World Vision rooftop (level 4).

House 20, Street 71, Sangakt Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh

(100 meters south east of Bokor lights)

Date: Thursday 09 October 2008

Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Who: Representatives of communities around Cambodia (100 people+)

In June 2008, communities from 5 provinces that filed public complaints against land concessions and alleged land grabbings were subjected to harassment by the authorities, including restrictions on their movement and ability to hold meetings, and police threats preventing the delivery of complaints to authorities in Phnom Penh. There have also been reports of physical violence and other threats and intimidation targeting community representatives who organized the filing of complaints. In June, a public forum to discuss the complaints was also shut down by authorities.

At that time, key complaints from 5 provinces were delivered to the Government. The Minister for Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries promised that the issue would be investigated and promised that action would be taken. Since that time, however, communities have received no resolution to their complaints and in fact they have actually seen a growth in the number of land concessions or illegal land grabs.

In a mark of the solidarity amongst all the communities that are faced with eviction, land alienation and ongoing harassment, representatives from the 11 provinces will present their problems having, in the morning delivered formal complaints to the government. Representatives are from:

  • Ratanakiri,
  • Mondolkiri,
  • Kampot
  • Pursat
  • Oddar Meanchey
  • Kratie,
  • Koh Kong
  • Kompong Cham
  • Kompong Chhnang,
  • Preah Vihear
  • Phnom Penh

The majority of these complaints are related the Cambodian Government granting Economic Land Concessions or allowing private land transactions to private companies in a manner that fails to comply with Cambodian Law.

A recent report by the UN describes the situation:

At the root of these concerns is poor enforcement of and compliance with the requirements of the Land Law and Sub-Decree on Economic Land Concessions, which govern the grant and management of economic land concessions. Essential pre-conditions to the grant of concessions, such as the registration of land as state private land and conduct of public consultations and environmental and social impact assessments, have not been met. Likewise, restrictions on the size and ownership of economic land concessions have not been properly enforced.

Instead of promoting rural development and poverty reduction, economic land concessions have compromised the rights and livelihoods of rural communities in Cambodia.

United Nations Cambodia Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Economic land concessions in Cambodia. A human rights perspective.

For more information please contact (only Khmer language)

Mr Seng Sokheng 092 324668

Mr Hor Samath 012 686074

Ms Pheoung Kimhoy 092 266454

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