As of June 30 this year, 6,584,578 out of roughly seven million plots of land have been registered, with their titles handed over to the rightful owners, according to a senior official.

Theng Chansangvar, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, revealed the figures during a press conference on the ministry’s five-year achievements, organised by the Government Spokesperson Unit at the Council of Ministers on August 24.

“Since the first implementation of land registration in the early 2000s, the ministry has registered and issued land titles for 6,584,578 plots of land, or 94.06 per cent of the total,” he said.

Nearly six million plots of land were registered through the systematic registering mechanism, while more than 624,000 others were registered separately. There have also been a total of 2,121 state land plots, or 921,903ha, registered in the same period.

During the period from 2018 through the first half of this year, a total of 1.69 million land plots, or 24.16 per cent of the roughly seven million, were registered, mostly through the systematic registering mechanism, with only 11,731 plots registered separately.

Over the past five years, Chansangvar said his ministry has significantly contributed to the government’s rectangular strategy, especially through land management and construction as well as on social land concessions for the people.

A total of 948 land titles for 3,652 people from 37 ethnic communities covering over 38,718ha have also been registered to date.

Regarding land disputes, Chansangvar said that in the past five years, a total of 5,853 such cases were presented to the ministry for resolution, 3,620 of which were resolved with the rest pending due process or negotiations.

He noted that since 2000, there have been a total of 14,308 land dispute complaints received with 10,919 of those cases solved.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, said most of the conflict in Cambodia over land is caused by ELCs that displace the communities already present on them.

He said if the ministry can register land titles for the remaining plots of land in a timely manner, it would reduce land disputes, especially in communities whose members are protesting and seeking government intervention and help.

According to Chansangvar, a total of 2,524 households affected by economic land concessions (ELCs) to sugar cane companies in Koh Kong, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Kampong Speu provinces have been relocated and compensated through social land concessions and cash payments, with a total of over 5,661ha and more than $2.16 million provided to them.

The ministry is currently working on negotiations in the long-standing dispute arising from the investment project of Union Development Group involving 1,333 families in Koh Kong province’s Botum Sakor district. So far, a total of 1,231 families, or 92 per cent, have accepted compensation totalling over 1,758ha of land and over $1.43 million in cash.