Preah Vihear families agree to end land dispute

Source: Khmer Times

The families claim that land was lost authorities evicted them. Supplied

More than 100 families in Preah Vihear province have accepted a resolution from provincial authorities after about eight years of protests over a land dispute with authorities and a CPP lawmaker.

Representatives of 253 families living in Svay Chrum village have protested at the Ministry of Land Management, the Prime Minister’s cabinet office, the National Assembly and other institutions over the years.

They claimed they lost land after provincial authorities and CPP lawmaker Sous Yara evicted them from 3,353 hectares of residential and farming land.

Representative Phan Thoeun said that after many meetings with provincial authorities, 112 of the families agreed to accept an offered compensation solution.

This granted 70 hectares of land in Choam Ksan district’s Sra Em commune to end the land protests in the Svay Chrum area.

“In the past, 253 families had a land dispute. However, they allocated land only to 112 families who went to Phnom Penh to protest,” Mr Thoeun said.

Mr Thoeun did not know what settlement had been made with the remaining families. And he did not know how much each of the 112 families would get of the 70 hectares.

Mr Thoeun said the land that provincial authorities provided was not where they used to live. The new location is in Sra Em commune, about 400 metres from the old area.

“The land at the new location is smaller than the old one that people used to manage, but we accepted the solution because we did not have any other option,” he said. “We are facing difficulties every day, which we have protested about since we were evicted in 2010.”

Provincial Governor Un Chanda said the 253 families had already accepted compensation in 2012 because the area where they lived was in the protected area of Preah Vihear temple, which was subject to a ban under a sub-decree.

But some people later sold the land and houses in the new location and wanted to return to the old place by accusing provincial authorities and the lawmaker of forcing them to leave.

He also confirmed provincial authorities had decided to provide 70 hectares of land to the 112 families who protested. The remaining families had already received the compensation, he said.

“The provincial level is checking the list of people because some families with more members were separating and forming another family,” he said. “Therefore, we will try to accelerate this work and divide the land plots for them by doing a draw soon.”

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