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Council Approves Plan for Minorities

The Council of Ministers approved a development policy for ethnic minorities on Friday, which officials hope will lead to more training and expertise for the country’s non-Khmer groups.

The policy is aimed at protecting the cultures, traditions, language, customs and beliefs of groups such as the Phnong, Hmong, Kampun and Steang hill tribes of the northeast.

“This policy is aimed at the improvement of the capacity and knowledge of the minorities, to have the ability to improve their living through sustainable development based on the use of the natural environment,” the Council of Ministers said in a statement.

Dam Chanthy, who is a Kampun member and chairman of the Highlander Association in Ratanakkiri, called the new policy import for the development of minority groups.

“We have a clear law, and we have real principles in the implementation for the minorities, and we hope that the government will take this policy to develop the minority communites and allow them to have a job when they have the ability,” she said. “And they can improve their livings properly, like other Cambodians. So I think the policy is good, and I support this policy.”

Tep Borin, a member of the Indigenous Community Support Organization, also in Ratanakkiri, said the policy marked a path for “the government to help the minorities.”

“A clear policy is a tool to help minorities properly live with their traditions and cutlues,” he said. “When the government sets up such policies, it means the government is thinking of the minorities.”