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Cambodian Officials Echo UN View on Land Grabs

Cambodian officials said Thursday they agree with a UN report criticizing the country for doing little to protect the land of indigenous groups in the northeast of the country.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Wednesday the government needed to protect those groups and to preserve their heritage and culture.

The UN report was issued on International World Indigenous People's Day.

Land theft is a rising problem in Cambodia, where the poor are cheated out of land by powerful military and political leaders.

Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap acknowledged the problem of land-grabbing in this part of the country and said the UN's report served as a reminder to the Cambodian government to make changes.

"The report is right, and it is a reminder for us to think about the effects on the minority people before we take any action," he said.

Governmental corruption and greed lead to the theft of land, opposition leader Sam Rainsy said.

"Our government only sees money," he said "The rich and the powerful want more and more money. Greed makes people forget what's right and what's wrong."