Bunong Living on Land Concession Evicted

An indigenous Bunong minority community in Mondolkiri province’s Keo Seima district on Wednesday filed a complaint claiming that authorities had destroyed their homes, but authorities allege that the villagers are living on land owned by a private company. Villagers claim that since November, 37 homes in Srechhouk Kiri commune have been demolished, some of them burned to the ground, by authorities including Forestry Administration representatives and military police, but district governor Sun Vanvuth claims the villagers had been given plenty of notice to leave before authorities moved in. … Kol Heal, a community representative for the 250 families who have lived on the site since 2010, said that a complaint filed with the Mondolkiri Provincial Court was rejected, and insisted that authorities had been heavy-handed in the attempted eviction. … Em Sopheak, coordinator at the Community Legal Education Center in Mondolkiri, said the villagers had been evicted because they were living on land that had been sold to a private Vietnamese rubber firm and a cassava plantation. “The zone has become a special economic land concession of the Vietnamese company Binh Phuoc II and Sovan Reachsey Company,” Mr. Sopheak said.

Mech Dara and Ben Sokhean