Land disputes increased 3 times in 2014 reports Licadho

  • 10,625 families were affected by land disputes in 2014 according to Licadho, 3 times more than in 2013.
  • The report states that land disputes must be addressed not denied.
  • Most of the people affected by land disputes are children and women. 

While the enriched high Cambodian class is busy buying American cars, the poor families lost their homes and crush against indifference and violence. According to the recently released report by the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (Licadho), the number of cases  of land dispute increased three times in 2014 in comparison with 2013 with 10,625 families or 49,519 individuals in which children and women represent a big share. Licadho confined the results to 13 provinces where that organization has offices, meaning that the number could be bigger.

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According to Licadho, the number of families involved in land disputes increase 3 times in comparison with 2013. If about 70% of Cambodians are younger than 30, it means that most of the affected people are children. Graphic courtesy Licadho. 

In April 2014 Licadho prepared a report with the title “2014 Brings a New Wave of Cambodian Land Conflicts,” that was answered by the Cambodian government as “unreal” during a press conference.

“It’s unfortunate that the Cambodian government is making the same promises again and again over land disputes. The authorities need to address the problem immediately with long-term lasting solutions,” said Naly Pilorge, Licadho’s director.

The report points out the causes of this national dispossession of the poor:

A corrupt and politically-obedient judicial system, the misuse of armed forces, including soldiers, as well as collusion between well-connected companies and authorities. This toxic cocktail has been fueling conflicts throughout the country for too long,” said LICADHO Technical Coordinator, Am Sam Ath.

But the victims of land dispossession are always very vulnerable communities in rural areas and ethnic minorities where education is very poor. Dispossessed families find themselves in economical disadvantage, because most of them don’t know what to do for living. At the same time, land disputes destroy also natural resources when jungles are reduced to open spaces for foreign concessions. Cambodians are mostly rural and natural communities depend on self-sustainability. If an ethnic minority is evicted from their ancestral land, it condemns them to the extinction of their cultural identity and to labor exploitation and undocumented migration.

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The children of Boeung Kak in Phnom Penh, the urban development land disputes at the top of the problem that seems without a solution, as much as powerful Cambodian figures see the country as their land possession. Photo Courtesy Licadho.

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When we talk about 10 thousand families involved in land disputes in Cambodia during 2014, we mean that more than 60% of those people are children that lost their own rights to land in front to powerful selfish interests. Photo courtesy Ki-Media (2012).

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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