Families in UDG Dispute Ask Rights Body for Help

Representatives of some 300 families from Koh Kong province embroiled in a land dispute with China’s Union Development Group (UDG) on Thursday petitioned the National Assembly’s human rights commission for help in keeping the company off their farms.

UDG has already forced hundreds of Koh Kong families from their land as part of its ongoing work turning a 45,000-hectare tract of Botum Sakor National Park into a $3.8 billion tourism complex.

Ten representatives of 315 families that accuse the firm of encroaching on their 3,600 hectares arrived in Phnom Penh Thursday to ask the opposition-led rights commission for assistance.

“The company UDG has cleared 2 hectares of farmland and is building on it,” said Ieng Chan, one of the representatives.

“We came here to ask the National Assembly and the government to help us keep using the area and to stop the company.”

CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang, who chairs the commission and accepted their petition, said he would urge the Environment Ministry, which oversees the national park, to resolve the dispute soon.

Representatives of the ministry and UDG could not be reached.

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