Adhoc Speaks Out in Battambang Land Dispute

Local rights group Adhoc has urged officials in Battambang province and Pailin municipality not to forcibly evict 240 families from a village in Pailin, an Adhoc official said on Monday.

On Jan 21, Pailin environment officials and environmental authorities from Battambang’s Samlot district told villagers in Pailin’s Steung village in Ota Vao commune that they had one week to leave their properties, officials said.

“We intervened with environment officials in Battambang and Pailin and asked them to stop this order and let the law decide,” said Yin Mengly, Adhoc’s Battambang coordinator.

Yin Mengly added that officials should not use violence to remove the families.

Klok Noy, Pailin municipal cabinet chief, said the families are prohibited from building on the forested land, which is protected by royal decree.

Chhay Chuop, director of Bat­tam­bang’s environment department, said he is considering the case, and that he will consult with Battambang Provincial Governor Prach Chan.

He added that the families have been living on the land for more than a year.

“People just came to live here one or two years ago but we did not resolve this problem before,” he said.

Prach Chan said the families have been asked to leave because the authorities need to conserve the forest.

“If anyone has no land they can ask us for some,” he said.


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