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In Land Disputes, Put People Over Development

  • Men Kimseng
  • VOA Khmer

Lao Monghay, the host of a new monthly call-in show called “Freedom of Expression” on VOA Khmer, said Thursday that people’s wellbeing “must be ensured.”

Lao Monghay, the host of a new monthly call-in show called “Freedom of Expression” on VOA Khmer, said Thursday that people’s wellbeing “must be ensured.”

Cambodia’s widespread land dispute woes can be better addressed if the government adheres closely to the constitution and begins putting people above development needs, a leading researcher says.

Lao Monghay, the host of a new monthly call-in show called “Freedom of Expression” on VOA Khmer, said Thursday that people’s wellbeing “must be ensured.”

“If there is a relocation, there should be a betterment, or at least maintain the same standard [of living], not deterioration, as we have seen in the past,” he said.

The root causes of the land dispute problem stem from a lack of legal enforcement, especially the denial of justice through the courts to local residents, he said.

Meanwhile, land disputes continue to be an ongoing problem for many Cambodians, who settled on land after the Khmer Rouge only to lose it to development concessions and other projects.

This has led to numerous mass protests in urban and rural areas, oft times leading to clashes between demonstrators and police.

However, Lao Monghay said he did not believe in violent uprising as a means to resolving the disputes.

“If there are people who are not happy with the way the government addresses the land issue and want to topple the government, they should do this through elections,” he said.

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