Volunteers Move In to Measure Kratie Site

Two months after government security forces evicted hundreds of families from Kratie’s Broma village at gunpoint, residents who were permitted to remain there took their first steps toward legal land tenure.

Scores of volunteers last week be­gan to collect data of families in Chhlong and Snuol districts, measuring the land of those living in state forests, former timber concessions, and disputed land, Kratie provincial governor Sar Chamrong said.

More than 60 of the student volunteers are currently posted in Broma village, in Kompong Damrei commune—a controversial location where the government staged a mass eviction in May, using heavily armed military forces to evict more than 600 families from a so-called secessionist area, and killing 14-year-old Heng Chantha in the process.

About 400 families, long-term residents of Broma village, will have their details registered and have their land measured in coming days, said Mr. Chamrong.

He added that it would take time to issue land titles since the titling project is being done in accordance with the Land Man­age­ment and Administration Project.

On June 28, more than 700 student volunteers were deployed to measure land as part of a land-titling program announced by Prime Mi­n­ister Hun Sen earlier in the month.

“Local residents have been co­operating with the volunteers, providing the background information on land occupations,” Mr. Chamrong said.

“Those who moved into the forest area where a group of secessionists encouraged them to claim the land have never returned to ask for land ownership,” he added.

Broma villagers, for their part, ap­plauded the arrival of the student land management volunteers.

“Though we are still suffering from the death of my niece, we are happy to get hard ownership titles of my farmland and residential land,” said Huoy Hun, the aunt of the slain Heng Chantha.

“From my private idea, if the titling project were started earlier than this in this area, my niece would not have been killed,” she added.

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