In Cambodia, many indigenous communities live with the constant fear of losing their ancestral land as development projects such as construction of roads and extraction of natural resources take centre stage. Communal land is also rapidly being acquired by outsiders for speculative purposes.
“Before we did not have any land dispute, but now we have the land dispute because the companies take our land,” says Kross Sok, a committee member of the Phnong community at Lamess village. “I can say on behalf of the Phnong indigenous people that it has been very difficult to farm because if we clear the land here or over there, they say that it belongs to the company.”
However, the Government, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), civil society and donor agencies are working together to assist indigenous communities to claim of land ownership that is tailored to their needs. The registration program will help to ensure their rights to participate in development are better realised.
According to ILO in Cambodia, more than fifty indigenous communities have been registered as legal entities so far and 4,000 people have received communal land titles from the Government.
6 June 2013