Communities Unite Over Land Rows in Siem Reap

Hundreds of villagers involved in 10 separate land disputes in Siem Reap province came together on Friday to submit a petition to the provincial hall asking for swift action to resolve their cases, according to local rights group Licadho.

In a post to its website, Licadho said 700 villagers were blocked from marching, but that 17 community representatives were ultimately invited to meet with provincial officials. 

“Around 100 police and military police prevented the group from marching, citing the possibility of traffic disruption and also stating that the governor was not in the of­fice,” Licadho said.

The petition listed 10 land disputes in seven districts in the province, involving the Ap­sara Authority, private companies and members of the military.

Sok Thol, deputy provincial administration chief, confirmed the meeting with community representatives but estimated that only about 250 villagers attempted to march.

He said governor Khim Bunsong, who was out of the country, would review their petition.

“We resolved some cases for them already, but some cases have not been resolved yet,” Mr. Thol said. “We need more time to resolve them.”

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