More than 1,000 residents on the outskirts of Phnom Penh received official land titles during a ceremony Thursday, as a senior land management official announced it would take six or seven more years to finish registering land in the capital.
Chhuon Sothy, director of the Municipal Department of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction, said about 200,000 land lots in the city have yet to be registered. “[We] hope to finish the land registration throughout Phnom Penh in about six or seven years,” he said.
Not including those granted at Thursday’s ceremony, a total of 3,261 land titles have been issued by the city since its land-registration program began in February 2004, he said.
Villagers receiving ownership titles Thursday had been living on their land for more than 25 years. “We will not worry anymore about losing our land,” villager Touch Sarom said.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who presided over Thursday’s ceremony, applauded the land management administration’s efforts. “Sorting out this issue will take time, but it cannot take too much time,” he said.
Several NGOs are using Wolfensohn’s visit to ask for intervention in other land issues. “We request that…you call on the government… to cancel all illegal economic land concessions,” Kong Pisey, acting chairman of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, wrote in a letter to Wolfensohn.