Reported Land Conflict
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Please click on balloon in the map of this page to display the reported instances of land conflict that are reported within it.

ethodology :

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.

Definitions

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.

   
Analysis of Land Cases

• According to our research, 223 land disputes have been reported on in the public domain in the last 4 years since 2007. The information presented here is taken from publicly available sources – mostly Khmer and English media reports and reports by non-government organizations – with additional information obtained through field research conducted by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”).

• The cases recorded by CCHR demonstrate that at least 5% of Cambodia’s total land area is subject to a conflict or has been in the last four years.

Description

The province with the highest number of land conflicts, according to our findings, is Phnom Penh with 10% of total land conflicts occurring in the province containing the country's capital and largest city. This was followed by Banteay Meanchey– which is the North West side of Cambodia and borders Thailand – and Ratanakiri – in the North East bordering Vietnam and Laos; CCHR's findings show that both provinces are the scene of 8% of land conflicts recorded. The provinces of Battambang and Preah Sihanouk are each the scene of 6% of reported land conflicts.

Description

Different sources used in the gathering of the information presented here detail the number of people affected by land conflicts according to the number of families or the number of individuals affected. For the most part, CCHR relies on the number of families affected – with 47,342 families having been affected or could be affected by the cases covered. CCHR has also found that an additional 768,862 have been or may be affected by these cases.

The largest land conflict in Cambodia in terms of people potentially affected is the Prey Lang conflict. Prey Lang is the largest lowland dry evergreen forest remaining in both Cambodia and the Indochinese Peninsula. It stretches over 3,600 square kilometres between the Mekong and Stung Treng rivers across parts of four provinces – Kampong Thom, Kratie, Preah Vihear and Stung Treng. The conflict may affect as many as 700,000 predominantly indigenous people.

According to the data collected by CCHR, 14% of all families affected by land conflicts today live in Phnom Penh. A further 10% live in Kompong Speu while 9% live in Kratie province, in the North East of Cambodia.

   
* NOTE: Generally, the sources relied upon by CCHR list the number affected by a conflict either in terms of people or families. Where possible CCHR has provided both numbers – ie the number of families and the number of people affected – however such figures should be viewed separately as they are generally collected from different sources. For the most part, our figures use the family as the unit to indicate the number affected by a conflict.


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