Religion Ministry Requires Pagoda Land Titles, Monks Fear Suppression

The Religion Ministry will now require pagodas to have hard land titles as part of an effort to better regulate religious institutions in the country, a move some monks said would tighten authorities’ control of monks who participate in social work.

On Monday, the ministry issued a new directive requiring pagodas to file for land registration with authorities’ assistance, as well as announcing a temporary halt to new applications to establish Christian churches.

Religion Ministry spokesperson Seng Somony said the new land-titling measure was meant to preserve pagodas’ properties and prevent “future consequences,” pointing out that pagodas have been embroiled in several land disputes with prospective developers in the past.

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