Land conflicts in Cambodia remain rife, based on the findings from the work of the National Engagement Strategy in Cambodia, also known as the Land and Housing Rights Network (LAHRIN).
From 11 – 13 August, LAHRIN organised a virtual provincial consultation meeting to verify information and data on land and natural resource conflicts to prepare reports and find possible solutions. The meeting was attended by 84 participants comprising of government officials from 18 provinces, commune chiefs, members of LAHRIN, and the Independent Advisory Team. The results of this report will be used as input for the 2021 National Conference on Land and Natural Resources Governance.
Participants agreed that to strengthen good cooperation between sub-national administrative authorities and civil society organisations, there was a need for participatory capacity building activities, information-sharing meetings, and joint action plans to engage in land and natural resource governance.
Collecting data on land and natural resource conflicts in Cambodia is very important to be used as evidence in regional and national dialogues to improve national policies and practices on safeguarding land tenure. “This not only contributes to solving the [land] disputes, but also to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Cambodia. We are all part of the solution, not part of the problem,” said Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum of Cambodia, a member of ILC and the host of LAHRIN.
Then the Independent Advisory Team explained the method for collecting information and data. Member organisations of LAHRIN were encouraged to document the cases and update them every year. During the meeting, the reviewed cases of land disputes were those that had involved a minimum of five plaintiffs or families, taking into account the already resolved cases. Once the data has been collected, LAHRIN’s member organisations will present the evidence back to local authorities and if necessary, collect additional information from local communities. The data will then be verified by provincial halls, relevant government departments, and local authorities.
As a result, participants of the meeting verified, updated, and entered 155 cases into the NGO Forum on Cambodia database.