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Land Policy in East Needs Reassessed: Expert

The government should conduct a thorough evaluation of its privatization policy for land purchases in eastern Cambodia, considering the amount of "anarchy" the policy has caused for indigenous residents, Yin Sopheap, a UNDP expert on the region, told "Hello VOA" Thursday.

"If they evaluate the impact properly and legally, all concessions may not be possible to implement," he said. "But so far, the quality of the evaluation has been limited, so the concession plan has had tremendous effects, not only to [people's] livings, but to cultures and customs."

In the northeast, many hilltribes have found themselves displaced by concessions and complain they are being cut off from forests that have religious signifiance and well as providing for their livelihoods.

Concessions are rarey viewed as beneficial for the people, rather only for companies, he said.

Meanwhile, people may now have TVs, roads, schools, radios and motorcycles as a result, "but that seems not a sustainable development," he said. "The indigenous rights should be more respected, as they are a minority."