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Cambodia ministry highlights work to register indigenous lands

Sen David / Khmer Times December 27, 2019

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The Land Management Ministry has announced it has officially registered thousands of hectares of land for scores of ethnic minority communities across the Kingdom.

The ministry held its annual meeting on Wednesday, where indigenous land registration was discussed.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the ministry said so far it has registered 28,522 hectares of indigenous land to 3,033 families in 30 ethnic communities, resulting in the distribution of 819 land titles.

“Cambodia is the number one country in Asia in terms of indigenous land registration,” the ministry said. “It is to preserve culture, traditions and customs of indigenous groups.”

It added the ministry will continue to register indigenous land for ten communities per year on average from now on.

According to a report by the Ministry of Rural Development, there are 24 different ethnic indigenous groups, accounting for 1.4 percent of the population in 15 provinces.

It noted it has issued identity certificates to 150 out of 455 indigenous communities, while the Interior Ministry has recognised 139.

Land Management Minister Chea Sophara on December 14 on Facebook said Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed his ministry to look after ethnic minorities.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed the ministry to continue this work…to give them safety, support, development and harmony,” Mr Sophara said.

Non Sokunthea, president of the Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association, yesterday said there are 24 ethnic indigenous groups in the Kingdom, including the Bunong, Jarai, Tumpoun and Kuoy.

He said he was pleased to hear of the Land Management Ministry’s efforts in registering indigenous lands.

“Thirty communities among 400 communities have their lands registered. It is a small amount, but we are pleased because the ministry works on it,” Mr Sokunthea said. “The registration process is difficult and complex.”

He said these difficulties stem from issues surrounding land size, economic land concessions and areas designated as conservation statuses.

“There are some obstacles. Communities have asked for bigger lands to be registered, but the ministry does not agree. It just gives smaller lands,” Mr Sokunthea said. “Some indigenous lands overlap with economic land concessions and conservation areas.”

From: KHMER TIMES (CAMBODIA) December 27, 2019

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