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Ministry to resolve all state land disputes by next year

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Villagers ask for intervention in a land dispute in Koh Kong province. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday the Land Management Ministry has committed to resolving all disputes involving state land in the Kingdom by next year.

During a Supreme Consultative Council meeting at the Peace Palace, Mr Hun Sen said the ministry has stepped up efforts to register land and resolve disputes.

“We have around seven million plots of land and I think that less than 10,000 plots are involved in disputes,” he said. “So, His Excellency Chea Sophara [Land Management Minister] has to make effort to resolve issues, including non-judicial ones and if some cases are already in courts, we have to leave them for the courts to process.”

“In case the individual [party in dispute] agrees to compromise outside the judicial system, we have to coordinate to resolve it, as we do not want any citizens to lose their land,” he added. “We want them to have better living conditions. And if they have good living conditions, we do not need to find donations to distribute to them.”

Mr Hun Sen said that Mr Sophara has informed him that all land disputes involving state land will be completely resolved by 2021.

“His Excellency Chea Sophara has already vowed that by 2021, there will be no land dispute between the state and the people. However, it is difficult [to resolve] land disputes between individuals,” he said.

Land Management spokesman Seng Lot couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.

Yous Sophorn, a representative of 118 families which have a land dispute with the Water Resources Ministry in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Chrum district, said yesterday that their dispute has remained unresolved since 2009.

She said the dispute arose after provincial authorities and the ministry placed irrigation systems, which affect more than 99 hectares of their land.

“Since Samdech Techo Hun Sen has already made the recommendation, I would like to ask the ministry to help resolve the land dispute quickly and compensate us financially or provide alternative plots for us to farm on,” she said.

Sok Sovann Vatana Sabung, an SCC member from the Khmer Rise Party who attended the meeting, lauded Mr Hun Sen for urging the ministry to review and address disputes because people need land to cultivate.

“Agriculture is a key economic activity and people cultivate land to grow and sell crops to support their families,” he said.

A Land Management Ministry report released late last year said that up to mid-December, it had issued more than five million land titles involving about 79.77 percent of around seven million plots of land.

It said it would continue to urge and support efforts to register more land plots to complete the land registration of all land plots in the Kingdom by next year. The ministry said it would also continue to strengthen the land dispute resolution process.

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