We are posting this news shared by STAR Kampuche (SK).
Twenty-five participants from different organizations gathered in a consultative meeting on Draft Law of Management and Agricultural Land Use organized by SK on 9 April at their office. The meeting aimed to:
- to share the current status of the draft law;
- to find collective strategies and recommendations to improve the draft law;
- to discuss strategies for implementation of NES Project for 2015; and
- to strengthen the cooperation between the government and civil societies and other development partners .
The event explored the effective approaches to multi-stakeholders partnership for future implementation of projects on land, agriculture, and natural resources.
Moving forward, SK, together with the other participating NGOs, agreed to:
- continue to advocate with the relevance ministries on laws and regulations related to land and natural resources management;
- continue to conduct the platform as sharing, learning and action in the future; and
- conduct field visits nationally, regionally or internationally on best practices.
STAR Kampuchea Holds Discussion on Land Grabbing in Koh Kong Province and Results of Land Monitoring
On 27 March, STAR Kampuchea (SK) organized a half-day roundtable discussion on land reform monitoring and a land grab case on A Resettlement by an Economic Land Concession (ELC) in Botum Sakor and Kiri Sakor districts, Koh Kong Province. This activity aims to validate the results of SK’s research, gathering feedback from groups working on land, and submit the recommendations from the land grab study to government and other stakeholders in order to strengthen national policies on agricultural investments that promote national food security and protect the rights of small- scale food producers and local communities. [MORE]
Discussions took place among 20 participants from national and international NGOs, World Bank, ILC partners, and NES-Cambodia partners, who have years of experience in land issues in Cambodia. They were actively engaged in the discussions and provided useful comments and recommendations.
Suggestions on the CSO land reform monitoring report focused on data verification with state institutions and NGOs, and citation of sources. Regarding the land grab study, participants gave recommendations for government, related institutions, UDG, Co. Ltd., in four key areas:
Strengthening land local governance
– Create new, fair and independent commissions, whose members shall be composed of the concerned competent institutions, local authorities, and the representatives of the reallocated people in order to ensure that the affected and relocated people are paid in fair and just manner.
– Allow the affected people and the concerned local authorities to participate in all steps of land concession granting
– Create clear technical tools in order to measure and control the quality of all newly-built wooden houses for the reallocated people.
Ensuring food security
– Create and conserve outside development areas with fertile agricultural land and fishery areas together with accessible irrigation systems where the allocated people can do agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods
– Provide rice and monetary subsidy for agricultural and fishing activities and emergency food support (Humanitarian support)to the affected and allocated people
– Improve capacity of the affected, allocated people with processing and research marketing skills, which is a means for them to produce and sell products to improve their livelihoods.
Protection of food producers and community rights
– Provide residential and agricultural land titles to the reallocated people and develop infrastructure before the company moves them according to the Leopard Policy, which in case any overlapping area between the land of affected people and the company, land shall be cut from the development area and belong to the affected people.
– Encourage and promote local communities to produce food products by providing them the life skills and food processing skills which respond to the industrial demands or local consumers in the long time
Facilitating innovative production arrangements
– Should provide facilitations and access to their residential and agricultural land for their farming and fishing when they are not ready to move out
– Build linkages with the other private sectors so the affected and allocated people can have access to the markets for their products and provide them opportunities to get jobs from the investing companies
– Provide long-term scholarships and vocational skills to youth, women, disable people, and children who are affected by the concessions
– Arrange suitable and appropriate public services each as:
- Developing and restoring the drinking water, irrigation system and special zonesfor the affected and allocated people to do agriculture and fishing
- Developing infrastructure to connect with community’s road systems
- Building more schools and provide sufficient teachers
- Establishing healthcare centers and toilets according to the national standards(nurses, medicines, health-care staffs, and appropriate materials and equipment)
After revising the reports, STAR Kampuchea will send the summarized recommendations of the land grab case to the Ministry of Forestry and Fishery (MoFF), which is responsible for compliance on Economic Land Concessions (ELC) and the Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization, and Construction (MLMUC), which is responsible for Social Land Concessions (SLC), the National Assembly, and other relevant institutions.
The presentations are available for download (in PDF form):
Last 2 June, a group of Cambodian NGOs spearheaded by Development Partners in Action (DPA), Equitable Cambodia, the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF), Housing Rights Taskforce (HRTF), Urban Poor Women Development (UPWD), and World Vision Cambodia (WVC) submitted to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cambodia comments to the midterm report of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) on the implementation of the 91-point recommendations from the UPR’s 1st Cycle, focusing on land and housing rights. The UPR is a special process that reviews governments’ track records in human rights. The report presents issues, questions to UN bodies, and recommendations, and is then submitted to the UN council as evidence for debate with states signatory to UN treaties.
The NGOs’ comments cover the legislative framework (measures should be taken to implement laws protecting land tenure rights and ensure the compliance of private sector); systematic land registration (avoid excluding lands especially urban lands occupied by the poor); indigenous peoples’ land rights (upholding communal land registration of indigenous peoples’ lands); resettlement (provide services in relocation sites and improve resettlement strategies); forced evictions (place a moratorium on forced evictions until legal and policy framework are in accordance with international human rights law) ; and the land dispute resolution mechanism (assessing and strengthening such mechanisms).
Among many serious land rights violations, these comments are based on the alarming rise in forced evictions and land disputes in Cambodia, usually caused by economic land concessions and private sector development.
The NGO Forum on Cambodia is part of the Land Watch Asia campaign. For more information, please contact NGO Forum on Cambodia.
If you are interested to read the NGOs’ comments, please download the document here.