Thursday, 29.3.2007: Civil Society Organizations Presented Big Land Disputes To Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen To Be Solved After The Authorities And Minister Sok An Were Unable To Do It

Posted on 30 March 2007. Filed under: Week 501 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 501

“The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 23 human rights organizations, as well as the NGO Forum, the Community Legal Education Center, and Legal Aid of Cambodia, welcomed and declared their support for the statement of Mr. Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia, about the settlement of disputes of land grabbed by a number of top-ranking officials of the Government of Cambodia.

“On 3 Mach 2007, the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] authorized the Prime Minister to remove any party members from their positions who were involved in land disputes. Recently, the Prime Minister noted that these serious land disputes had caused instability in Cambodia. Therefore, it is necessary to solve these disputes to ensure the right to own land with stability for the development of Cambodia.

“A host of NGOs expressed strong support for this new policy, and they would like to cooperate in seeking solutions so that this policy will be successfully implemented. In the past, NGOs worked often on disputes about land grabbed by top-ranking officials. Each case of these land disputes had specific documents that proved the involvement of a number of top-ranking officials of the Government of Cambodia, and these cases affected the living standard of communities and of local people, the natural environment, animals’ refuges, national cultural properties, and the good heritage of Cambodia.

“All NGOs would like to express their respect for the good will of the Prime Minister who recently declared to protect the interests of the people and the whole society. They hoped that the Prime Minister would implement this policy more effectively.

“Thun Saray, the coordinating director of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, said, ‘As the defender of human rights, we would like to express our congratulation and support, to encourage the preventing of serious land disputes from occurring, which affect the livelihood of the common people. We would like to propose the urgent investigation and settlement of land disputes – for which we have submitted documentation today; this provides an opportunity for the Royal government of Cambodia to clearly show that it has the resolute position to transform the society into a state of law, and that the state is serious and strict with the settlement of these problems which were caused by some top-ranking officials of the government.

“Ms. Dr. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], the president of the local human rights group LICADHO , a member of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, said, ‘In the past, the problems of land grabbing happened all the time, it was one of the big problems that affected the people’s living standard and made them face the loss of their land for residences and crop production.’ Concerning these problems, even though the people tried to protest and complain to the authorities and the courts, there was still no solution for them. She said she would like to support the initiative of Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen in solving land disputes for people and confiscating state land to return it to the state. This initiative is very important to solve land disputes and return the land grabbed by top-ranking officials to the poor people. She also said that, as the head of a civil society organization, she would continue to watch over this action.

“Mr. Chhit Sam Ath, the Executive Director of the NGO Forum, said, ‘NGOs would like to support the resolute determination of the Prime Minister who initiated a policy and actions related to the punishment and removal of top-ranking officials who were involved in grabbing people’s land and state properties through the use of violence, intimidation, fraud, as well as taking advantage and using other ways to encroach on land. NGOs observed that in the past, there were efforts of the authorities at all levels in the governmental structure, to seek solutions for these land disputes. But the authorities’ actions were limited, and the authorities did not dare to confront the top-ranking officials who had grabbed land. On the other hand, NGOs also recognized that the authorities’ effort and the contribution of various NGOs encouraged the settlement of a number of land disputes, but the major cases of land disputes could not be settled.

“NGOs hoped that the Prime Minister would take action to solve these major issues as he had promised.

“Mr. Huon Chhon Dy, the acting president of the Community Legal Education Center, stated that all documents provided by NGOs showed clear evidences about land grabbing, and these cases were related to some officials. ‘We would like to appeal to the Government of Cambodia to take appropriate measures to solve land disputes and to ensure the rights for land for the Khmer people.’ He said that, as the acting president of a local NGO, ‘we really want to see that state land, grabbed by some top-ranking officials, is being returned to the state, so that the state can manage the land for the public interest of Cambodia and its people.’ In the meantime, he said that he wanted to see measures taken to condemn the officials who are stubborn and not willing to return to the state the land that they encroached upon.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3002, 29.3.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 March 2007

Chakraval, Vol.15, #2665, 29.3.2007

  • In 2003-2004, 1319 Cases Of Rape And Human Trafficking Happened In Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1303, 29.3.2007

  • [The court] Summoned The Owner Of A Diamond Shop [in Phnom Penh] And A Member Of The Board Of Directors Of The Sam Rainsy Party To Appear In The Court About Buying Land From Oknha Tan Seng Hak
  • [Funcinpec Secretary General] Mr. Nhek Bunchhay Welcomed Samdech Prince Ranariddh’s Complaints Because He Is Innocent

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6003, 29.3.2007

  • [Opposition lawmaker] Mr. Son Chhay Took A Motion [of the Boeung Kak area residents] To The Phnom Penh Municipality; The Authorities Promised To Help The Citizens On 3 April 2007
  • The Republic Of India Helped To Provide Training On Techniques Of Defusing Explosives

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4248, 29.3.2007

  • The Royal Government Of Cambodia Prevents Khmer Laborers From Being Sent To Work In [the military crisis zone of] Southern Thailand

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #364, 29.3.2007

  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Agreed To Receive A Motion From The Citizens Who Live In The Boeung Kak Area [three requests: 1. Cancel the contract signed by Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Kep Chutema, with Oknha Lav Meng Khin, the president of a company, 2. Issue legal titles for land ownership and residence permits, 3. The municipality has to ask permission from all families living in this area, if the municipality intends to develop this area affecting their residences]
  • Khmer People Overseas Told Khmer People In The Country To Vote Just For The Party Which Serves The National Interest

Sakal, Vol.15, #3169, 28.29.3.2007

  • On 2 April, There Will Be A Demonstration In Order Not To Recognize Election Results For The Sam Rainsy Party [at least one thousand persons from seven provinces will demonstrate in Phnom Penh against the results of the commune council elections, if the number of candidates from the Sam Rainsy Party decreased, as the Sam Rainsy Party prepares a mass demonstration on land disputes after 1 April, the 2nd mandate election day]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3002, 29.3.2007

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Is Getting More Popular, While The Ruling Party Is Fearful And Chooses To Use Threats [cruel murder of a Norodom Ranariddh Party activist in Sihanoukville]
  • People Understand That The Sam Rainsy Party Received Money From Top-Ranking Officials Of The Ruling Party
  • Civil Society Organizations Presented Big Land Disputes To Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen To Be Solved After The Authorities And Minister Sok An Were Unable To Do It

Go to last week’s editorial

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