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Rights Group Reports Threefold ‘Surge’ in Land Dispute Filings

Cambodian land eviction victims and Buddhist monks shout slogans during a rally in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. They demanded to released land activists who were arrested during a protest against flooding and activists who were arrested during a protest against the jailing of land activists. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The rights group Licadho is reporting a threefold increase in land dispute cases in its offices for 2014 compared to the year before.

In a statement issued Thursday, the group said more than 10,000 families, or nearly 50,000 individuals, had registered land conflicts with their office. The office registered about 3,500 complaints in 2013 and more than 5,600 in 2012.

Corruption and a non-independent judicial system had led to the problem, reported across only 13 of 24 provinces where Licadho has offices, Am Sam Ath, technical coordinator for the group, told VOA Khmer.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan disputed the numbers, saying that according to its own records, the government has reduced the number of land issues in the country from 2,000 cases to only 300.

Still, Am Sam Ath cautioned that the numbers collected by Licadho are accurate and portray an alarming trend. “If this problem continues,” he said, “it will lead to a land revolution in the future.”