Accessibility links

Land Conflict Erupting Across Cambodia, Monitor Says

Unsolved land theft, poverty, migration, unemployment and corruption are causing an eruption of land conflicts across Cambodia, a leading expert said Monday.

As land prices rise in a developing economy, the courts have shown themselves incapable of arbitrating, exacerbating the problem, said Latt Ky, a land monitor for the rights organization Adhoc.

"There's been a land management ministry, a committee to solve land conflicts and later in 2006 the land authority," he said.

All three agencies have tried to deal with land issues, with the help of a new land law, but land grabbing "still occurs more and more," he said, as a guest on "Hello VOA."

"It's still a hot issue still hot and irreducible," he said.

Two people were killed in a demonstration over the alleged theft of land in Preah Vihear province, in a bloody conflict that has been one of many over the past few years.

Latt Ky said his unit was continually monitoring such situations, despite an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen last year for the illegal seizure of land to stop.

"An order is order, but for the people to implement it, that is different," Latt Ky said.

Courts are hard-pressed to prosecute the crime, despite Hun Sen's order, and even though the land authority has seized 220,000 hectares, some of it has ended up in the hands of government officials.