Representatives of 24 indigenous groups from 15 provinces urged the government to solve their outstanding land dispute and expedite the process of registering their collective farmland to prevent private companies grabbing it.
The appeal was made during a national consultative seminar under the theme “Strategic Planning for the Preservation and Development of Indigenous Communities. The event was attended by government and civil society organisation representatives and around 300 indigenous people.
Tep Toem, one of the representatives, said indigenous communities are most concerned about land grab and forest clearance by companies that have received economic land concessions. She said such encroachment has cost them livelihood, shelters and traditions, among others.
Toem said while her community relied on forest and mountain land, and natural ponds and canals for a living, some private companies had turned them into sugarcane plantations.
Although the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction had measured and registered her community’s collective farmland, she said the measurement was done with errors and did not correspond to their wishes.
She urged the government to help return the land and register it as collective land for indigenous communities.
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Source : Soth Koemsoeun via Farmland Grab