The Kampong Chhnang Provincial Administration has solved 549 out of the 723 land dispute cases in total that were filed by residents in November. The administration is still working to solve the remaining 134 cases.

Provincial administration spokesman Sron Sam Rithy said on November 30 that authorities had focused heavily on solving land dispute problems over the course of the month given the number of requests.

Provincial governor Sun Sovannarith, who recently took office, has vowed to provide the residents with mediation for these problems through community visits by provincial authorities from November onwards. He said in October that residents will no longer have to spend time and money travelling to meet with district or provincial authorities for answers.

Sam Rithy, the spokesman, said: “We continue to receive additional requests. We have reviewed the results for the first month [November] of the campaign to mediate these disputes on site that the governor initiated.

He said that about 80 per cent of the 723 cases were land disputes and the other issues largely concerned civil affairs and in some cases they were unable to find solutions.

“We are just an arbitrator for them but our decision has no legal binding. So if they do not accept our solutions, then the cases can go to court. But at this point as the authorities we do not push them to do so,” he said.

He added that in the past there were also many requests pouring in but the administration could not solve them quickly enough – which lead to a case backlog – but through this new mechanism the cases can be solved rapidly and people were generally pleased by the results.

Soeung Sen Karuna, spokesman for rights group Adhoc, commended the efforts of the provincial administration to deal with people’s problems at the local level and that such work should be carried out in all provinces in the same manner.

“I applaud and support all of these actions and the resolution of these problems without prolonging them. If the people are satisfied with the solutions provided, then that’s something we applaud. As for problems that are not yet dealt with, continue to work on them,” he said.

“If every province had a similar system, it would be a good thing, especially for the people who have been waiting for help for a long time in some places.”