Kratie’s provincial authorities on Friday gave an ultimatum to over 100 families living in Damrei Phong commune in Chhloung district, telling them to get off their land or face legal action.
The group of 104 families, who come from different provinces, say they have lived in the area since 2011, according to rights group Adhoc, which is advocating on their behalf.
However, Deputy Provincial Governor Khan Chamnan did not acknowledge the 104 families’ claims. He insisted that the ultimatum targeted encroachers from other provinces that arrived last year and unlawfully occupied a social land concession (SLC) set to be given to 998 different families who hail from Kratie.
“Local authorities identified [the area] as a land concession, but it overlaps between the 104 and 998 families,” said Cheav Kun, a provincial coordinator with Adhoc.
The SLC used to be an economic land concession, belonging to the rubber-producing Chan Sothea Company. Between 2007 and 2008, the government split some land from the ELC, with the intention of providing it to the 998 families.
The government provided 2 to 3 hectares per family in several stages – so far, 785 of the 998 have received land – but part of the SLC’s area is now in dispute with the 104 families. Chamnan said that district authorities intend to end the dispute.
“Our authority has an obligation to take care of security for those who were legally given the lands,” he said.