Villagers denied land titles after demarcation

Sixty families in Kompong Cham province’s Krathor district are planning to file a complaint with provincial authorities after local land management officials decided to take away their registration documents for land titles under Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recently launched titling program. Pon Pumm, 44 a farmer, said that Mr. Hun Sen’s land titling volunteer students had visited the area five months ago to demarcate their land and provide them with documentation certifying their ownership. But when villagers went to retrieve their titles from provincial land management officials last week, they were told their applications had been rejected because they were living on so called “community land”. … According to Kbal Trach commune chief Doung Sarin, the land where villagers are living and farming used to belong to the well connected Pheapimex company, which is owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s wife. Pheapimex has maintained a 316,000 hectare economic land concession in the province for growing cassava and acacia since 1997. … Th UN’s human rights envoy to Cambodia, Surya Subedi, said at a press conference on Friday that there were concerns about how the government’s land titling program and about how communities are chosen for titles.