Case 1: 81 families in the village Prek Pnao, San Sok district, Phnom Penh
This case concerns 81 families that have been victimised by land grabbing in the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Following the eviction of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, this group returned to their land and began the long process of cultivation in a bid to bring their farms back into a healthy, profitable state. Throughout the 1980’s, communes were sustained between families with the production of food and resources shared within the local communities. However in 1992, government authorities returned to the communities with the intention of seizing the land of those without certificates. As any proof of private ownership was destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime and the cost of private certificates were far beyond the peoples means, land rights were non-existent. Subsequently, the government was able to illegally claim 19 hectares of their land and sell it to private foreign investors with little consequence. The local people were evicted from their land without compensation, losing their livelihood in the process.
Today, HROTP is helping these 81 families to seek compensation for the land taken from them. These families have been submitting continuous complaints since 1992 yet have not achieved a single success, despite complaining to the provincial authorities. The case has not been resolved, after issuing complaints at the provincial court, supreme court and several appeals, the families have lost every time. This is largely also due to the lack of funding for the legal costs, whilst the government has had better means to advance its case. After a growing sense of frustration, the families are submitting a formal complaint to His Royal Majesty the King to request him to speak to the high judges committee and the justice ministry in order to allow the people to re-submit their lawsuit and restart the process.
Case 2: 151 families in the Kroyea commune, San Tuk district, Kompong Thom province
151 families have been cultivating 44 hectares of land here since 2000, growing Kasuva potatoes and rubber trees needed for their subsistence. In 2013, the forestry officer and the Kompong Thom authorities decided to initiate a plan to seize the land.
The families are gravely concerned that this will become a reality, as they have their homes and their livelihoods on this land. The government has accused the families of deforestation, yet they rightfully own the land and have been utilizing it to grow crops.
HROTP are helping these families submit a formal complaint to the intended land grabbing. The families do have adequate certificates to prove that the land is theirs.