Information published here by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) is public information gathered from news media in Khmer or English and relevant publications by non-governmental and other organizations as well as CCHR’s own research on land conflicts which was previously published on sithi. The cases outlined here are only those conflicts that have been reported on in the public domain and/or that CCHR could gather sufficient information on the facts of the case in order to create a picture of the story of the conflict.
All of the cases published have been reported on – and in some cases resolved – since 2007. The number of sources relied upon varies from case to case. In certain cases, the information presented is gathered from a single source – usually a news report – published as early as 2007. While it is not impossible that such cases have since been resolved, unless otherwise stated CCHR has not – in the course of our media monitoring and research – found any reports to that effect.
CCHR does not contend that the information presented here is conclusive. On the contrary, it is expected that this information represents only a portion of land cases occurring in Cambodia today and in recent years. The information is presented to offer a picture of the nature of the cases – to allow the reader to delve beyond facts and figures – and to provide insights into the land cases that occur and the manner in which they are dealt with by the authorities. CCHR encourages other organizations and institutions – government and non-government – to publish similar information to increase the material available and to enhance the public’s understanding of this issue. Information is the key to understanding and a problem is best tackled when it is truly understood.
In order to provide a clear understanding of the situation of land in Cambodia, CCHR has divided land conflicts in this database into three categories: ownership disputes, land grabs, and land evictions. These three categories of dispute are defined, as follows:
'Dispute of ownership/control': Every land conflict, by its very nature, involves a dispute between two or more parties as to the ownership or control of the land in question. Disputes often involve overlapping claims based on title documents, contracts of sale, lease agreements, a history of use/possession of the land, concessions over the land, and so on. For the purposes of this study, all conflicts are categorized as “Disputes of ownership/control”. While such a dispute may have originated from a land concession or later involve a land grab or eviction, a dispute of ownership/control over land can exist independently of any of these further categories, such as in a situation where one party claims ownership of land use or occupied by another party but takes no action to exclude or remove that person from the impugned land.
'Land grab': A 'land grab' is defined in this study as the act of excluding another party from accessing land. Land grabs involve land not occupied by the excluded party but used by him/her. A typical example of a land grab involves excluding a villager from land that he/she cultivates that is not directly adjoining his/her home.
'Land eviction': A 'land eviction' is defined in this study as the act of removing people, whether forcibly or through other means, from land they own, use or occupy. A land eviction should be distinguished from a land grab; whereas the latter involves preventing access to land, the former involves removal of a party from land.
In addition to the three categories above, the “nature of conflict” field also indicates where a conflict originates from or involves a land concession to one or more of the parties to the conflict.