Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) bats for traditional land rights in Cambodia
Posted on February 12th, 2016

By NJ Thakuria

Guwahati: With an aim to protect the lands against excessive resource extractions in Cambodia, an influential rights body urged the authority to maintain indigenous land rights for the natives. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), while releasing a report recently at Phnom Penh, fervently called  the Cambodian royal government  to accelerate the collective land registration process.

The report titled ‘Access to Collective Land Titles for Indigenous Communities in Cambodia’, which is available at CCHR website

(www.cchrcambodia.org) both in English and Khmer, has been the outcome of research conducted by the rights body’s land reform project on the experiences of indigenous communities and their engagement with the process to obtain collective land titles (CLT) in the Burma bordering southeast Asian country.

While collective land ownership is recognized in theory in Cambodia, the indigenous population is losing their land at an alarming rate due to outside interests, including large-scale logging of forests and resource extraction, infrastructure projects, land concessions and encroachment by newcomers,” said a statement issued by the CCHR, which is a non-aligned, independent, non-governmental organization working to promote & protect democracy and respect for human rights across Cambodia.

It also stated that the report seeks to examine the obstacles to registration of collective land for indigenous communities in Cambodia and highlight the shortcomings in the implementation of the CLT process.  It reveals the astounding complexity of the process that makes it near impossible for communities to complete without sustained external assistance.

While revealing numerous pressures faced by indigenous communities throughout the CLT process, such as intimidation, judicial harassment and pressure to accept private land titles, the report also offers concrete recommendations for those with an ‘interest in the process, to promote better implementation of collective land registration and thereby ensure greater land tenure security for Cambodia’s indigenous communities’.

CCHR strongly urges the Royal Government of Cambodia to accelerate the allocation of CLTs by strengthening the capacity of relevant institutions and allocating an adequate budget for each stage of the process, to amend interim protective measures so they guarantee tenure security throughout the process and to disseminate information on how to obtain CLTs to communities and local authorities,” added the statement.

In addition, the rights body reminds companies operating on or near to indigenous lands to comply with domestic & international law and to avoid causing human rights violations, urges fellow non-governmental organizations & development partners to increase cooperation and provide technical & practical support to government & communities and finally it encourages indigenous communities to strengthen community cohesion.

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