Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
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Venerable Loun Sovath, the senior monk in Siem Reap’ province’s Chi Kraeng district, said that evictions violated human rights and international laws. “I call on the government, relevant ministries and stakeholders to enhance respect for human rights and the law,” he said. Loun Sovath has become an outspoken voice on land rights issues over the past two years, combining human rights and a respect for the rule of law with peaceful advocacy grounded in Buddhist precepts. His advocacy on behalf of communities involved in land disputes began after two members of his family were shot during a land dispute in 2009.
- Tuesday, 16 August 2011 15:01, John Anthony
The Venerable Luon Sovath speaks during a meeting at the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights yesterday in Phnom Penh.
- Worst provinces
- Phnom Penh – 22 conflicts
- Banteay Meanchey – 17
- Rattanakkiri – 17
- Families: An estimated 47,342 families have been affected or could be in the future.
- Resolution: About 90% of land conflict cases are unresolved.
Victims of land disputes nationwide are being encouraged to unite, as figures released yesterday highlighted the magnitude of what is often referred to as an “epidemic of land grabbing”.
Ownership of at least 5 percent of all land in Cambodia was a matter of dispute between 2007 and 2011, according to a study by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights.
CCHR presented the findings of its study on land conflicts in Cambodia at a press conference in Phnom Penh yesterday. As many as 47,000 families had been or could be affected by land conflict cases, some of which are ongoing, covered in the study.
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Of course, I didn’t know much during the Khmer Rouge regime in between 1975-79, I started knowing something was in late 1982 when I was unable to chew and swallow the porridge of banana trunk. This dinner image has inscribed in my mind ever since. Many people including my siblings were so skinny, infected and weary.
Sit down under a tree to protect from a scorching sun, as I looked at far distance, my mind was so imaginary. Sometime, it thought of having a nice home equipped by luxurious furniture. Sometime, it wandered far to horizon through the air as my ears heard of airplane was flying. Sometime, it desired for huge amount of money to pleasure life. Suddenly, I was shaken by a rocket explosion at the edge of Phum Dong-het. I must rush to look around if my cows are still nearby. But none I saw. All my cows were so alert and I thought they left for home already. I had to run fast back home for both security and herding the cows to avoiding from eating and destroying seeds of neighbors.
It was in 1987 when I was in grade 7, the situation at my village was so ravaged by fractional fighting especially between Khmer Rouge guerrilla and Vietnamese army. The village is comparing like a cord for the players of “tug-of-war”. Villagers were so subservient to the inquiries of both Khmer Rouge army and Vietnamese army. In the night, they had no choice but to welcome Khmer Rouge army. In the day, they have no choice but to greet Vietnamese army. But if any of these two groups come to my village on a wrong schedule, the fighting must be happening. Both sides had good quality of weaponry and guns supported by their ideological masters in this very deadly confrontational war. The villagers were the front shield for them. But I don’t think that both factions had respected the universal rule of warfare. Very often, villagers who are civil people and gun-less were shot to dead, bruised, maimed or kidnapped; grain of rice, vegetables and livestocks are target for fighting supply. More often, family that has young singled and pretty daughters must hide them from the eyes of those soldiers from both sides. As we had to work hard on the rice field in the day, some night we had to stay inside bunker or escape away for personal and live-stocks security without having a nap.