Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials meet with ethnic Chong community seeking recognition

Officials meet with ethnic Chong community seeking recognition

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ministry of Rural Development official Yim Chung receives a petition from Chong community representatives earlier this month. Officials with the ministry met with members of the community on Sunday in order to help speed up the process of being officially recognised by the government as an ethic minority. Photo supplied / Peng Srysor

Officials meet with ethnic Chong community seeking recognition

An official with the Ministry of Rural Development on Monday blamed Koh Kong provincial authorities for stalling on a request from the Chong ethnic minority community in the Areng Valley to be officially recognised by the government.

A group from the ministry and a representative from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights paid a visit to the community on Sunday and spoke with 10 community representatives following a villagers’ petition on the matter submitted earlier this month to the ministry, the prime minister’s cabinet and the United Nations. Koh Kong provincial authorities also met with the community on Monday.

Chan Daron, spokesman for the Ministry of Rural Development, said the community had tried to request that they be recognised as a Chong ethnic minority community, but their request had remained at the local level due to a delay in the procedure.

“The work is involved with the lateness of authorities, not the Rural Development Ministry,” Daron said. “Officials are in discussions to find out what caused the delay in the registration with the commune, district and provincial authorities.”

The aim of the meetings was to see how officials can work together to push the registration process forward “faster”, he said.

“The registration at the Rural Development Ministry only takes between one and two weeks,” he added.

Being recognised as an indigenous community would allow the villagers to apply for a communal land title.

Koh Kong Governor Mithona Phouthong would only confirm that there was a meeting about the issue before referring questions to her provincial administrative official.

Ouch Touch, Koh Kong Provincial Hall administrative director, referred questions to Sok Sothy, spokesman for Koh Kong Provincial Hall, who said he was unaware of the issue.

Ven Vorn, a representative in Chumnap village, said residents from other villages including Chumnap Chrork Russey, Prek Svay and Koh villages began to be officially recognised and registered at the commune and district level in early 2017. The Chong ethnic minority community sent their request about six months later, though it has hasn’t advanced past the provincial hall yet.

“Our request remained at the provincial hall; [it has] not [been] sent to the ministry yet,” he said. “I don’t know the reason, but there is no problem with legality.”

Vorn said he and the other community members were told that Sunday’s meeting would help speed up the process.

“We [have been] waiting [for] such a long time and [we] hope it works this time,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia

  • Economic growth to shrink to 2.3% in 2020, ADB says

    The Asian Development Bank (ABD) has slashed Cambodia’s 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 2.3 per cent from its initial 6.8 per cent forecast due to the slowdown in major economies and China and reduced access to export markets. However, growth is projected to trend upwards