NGOs Decry Mondulkiri Land Grabs, Call for End to Culture of Impunity

A number of officials in Mondulkiri Province face overly light punishments for their roles in land grabs, but NGOs have called for an end to the impunity of government officials who commit crimes.

The government has, on Oct. 7, been accused of double-standards by prominent local NGOs after a number of officials in Mondulkiri Province faced light punishments for their roles in a series of land grabs. This culture of impunity, the NGOs said, needs to end.

Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) said she questioned the double-standards when it came to applying the law to ordinary people and government officials. This, she added, does not reflect the rule of law.

She noted that ordinary Cambodian citizens who have been accused of encroaching on state land or encroaching on forest land are arrested and face prison sentences, although in most cases the community has lived on the land for a long time. But government officials only receive administrative punishments, re-education or are moved to another position—at best, they are removed from their positions.

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