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Ratanakkiri Villagers Seek End to Land Violence

About 280 ethnic minorities of Ratanakkiri have met with rights workers at Adhoc to find ways to end violence over land in the burgeoning area province.

The villagers from various communities across nine districts in the remote northeast of the country joined a rally recently; they had planned to demonstrate by road, but authorities did not allow it.

The villagers blame senior government and military officials for theft of their land.

“Since 2006, there is no resolution for us,” said a villager named Sal Lin, in a meeting that was surrounded by police. “We need to get it back.”

Ratanakkiri Adhoc coordinator Pen Bunnar said local authorities worked to prevent villagers from joining the rally, a claim the authorities rejected.

Adhoc estimates that thousands of hectares have been taken from villagers through illegal or dishonest means by the rich and powerful.