Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indigenous groups call for a halt to forced relocations

Indigenous groups call for a halt to forced relocations

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Members of an indigenous group in traditional costume dance in a ceremony previous years. Photo by OHCHR

Indigenous groups call for a halt to forced relocations

Over100 indigenous groups from eight of the Kingdom’s provinces asked the government on Thursday to grant them land concessions instead of forcing their relocation.

Celebrating the 24th International Day of Indigenous People, the groups gathered under the banner of the Indigenous People’s Migration and Movement.

A joint statement issued by the coalition said: “We are indigenous people and would like to declare that we never oppose the development of the royal government. On the contrary, we want and encourage development for indigenous people.

“The development we want should be consistent with our will and be in accordance with policies which inform and have prior consultation with us, and are open to agreements with respect to the United Nations’ statements on indigenous people’s rights that the Cambodian government voted to support on September 13, 2007.”

The statement went on to list some worrying trends and challenges indigenous people in the Kingdom noticed.

Both Lan Feng Rui Reng and Mega First were two companies mentioned in the report as having gotten land concessions that negatively impacted indigenous groups. They also called for an end to intimidation and any prevention of cultural ceremonies.

Yun Lorang, secretary-coordinator for the Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance, said the reason for the committee to address the matter under the banner of the Indigenous People’s Migration and Movement was because they had become labourers outside the country, and many elderly who remained at home were convicted of trespassing.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Indigenous groups come together to celebrate International Day of Indigenous People in previous years. Photo by OHCHR

He said that a land concession had caused many elderly to be relocated in his province, while forests they had relied on had been felled.

“Now we see clearly that working-aged men and women are migrating as workers, while the elderly are home-sitters. [They] are migrating because of land grabs and clearing of the forests,” he claimed.

Yim Chong, the Ministry of Rural Development’s director of the ethnic minority department, could not be reached for comment.

Regarding this issue, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia is working to support the community of indigenous people and assisting them through the process of obtaining land title deeds.

OHCHR has encouraged the government to provide opportunities for indigenous people to demonstrate their cultures and traditions.

Reports from the Cambodia Indigenous People Alliance said the world has more than 370 million indigenous people living in over 90 countries.

Cambodia has 24 groups of indigenous people totalling 276,878.

MOST VIEWED

  • Malaysia MP accused of ‘influencing law’

    Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Sng arrived in Siem Reap early on Wednesday, in what was slammed by one NGO as efforts by Kuala Lumpur to “influence Cambodian law”. The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh requested on January 30 “cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign

  • Ministries begin measures to offset EU’s EBA decision

    In the wake of the EU’s controversial announcement this week that it has begun the withdrawal process for Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential agreement, government ministries and political analysts continued to share their reactions and economic mitigation plans in preparation for the

  • Emirates launches route connecting Phnom Penh, Bangkok

    Emirates will launch a daily service on June 1 linking Phnom Penh (PNH) and Bangkok (BKK). The service from Phnom Penh to Dubai, via Bangkok, will provide more flight options to passengers travelling between the capitals of Cambodia and Thailand. Travellers from the Southeast Asian nations

  • Phnom Penh police to crack down on traffic violators

    Sar Thet, the head of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, has reorganised the duties of the capital’s traffic officers to tackle the city’s growing congestion, with a focus on those who refuse to obey the road laws. Street vendors who clog Phnom Penh’