A group of ethnic minorities from Cambodia's
far-flung provinces gathered in Phnom
Penh Friday, urging the government to reconsider its
concession policies on land where they make a living on natural resources.
once-remote northeast has opened up to mining and other concessions in recent
years, leading to a large number of displaced minorities and conflict over
"Don't take the land of ethnic minorities for
concession," said Tep Toem, a Kuoy ethnic minority from Preah Vihear
province. "Before giving land concessions to companies, the government
should talk with the people in advance, whether the land concession will affect
people's livelihoods or not."
Members of Cambodia's
minorities spoke following a meeting in Phnom
Penh sponsored by the NGO Forum. Cambodia has an estimated 190,000
minorities, comprising 17 indigenous groups.
Members of the different groups are responsible for the
management of around 4 million hectares, NGO Forum said in a statement.
UN special rights envoy Yash Ghai warned on a visit last
year that land disputes in rural provinces could lead to political instability.
Officials for the Ministry of Land Management could not be
reached for comment Friday.