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HE Mr Hor Nam Bora
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From 2004 to 2013

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Ambassador letter to the Editor of The Daily Telegraph - 4 February 2013

Mr Tony Gallagher
Editor of Daily Telegraph
111 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 0DT


Sir,

Your reporter, David Eimer, who travelled to Cambodia to report on the funeral of the former king would have done well to focus on the deep sadness and affection felt by the people of Cambodia for His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk rather than try and report on the country’s land issues which he clearly does not understand.

If Mr Eimer is so adamant to address this topic, it would have been wise if he had spent more time speaking to the Cambodian authorities responsible for land issues rather than to representatives of the opposition party which can only be interpreted as an attempt to bolster the opposition’s reputation ahead of Cambodia’s national elections in July.

Since Mr Eimer makes a number of allegations relating to land evictions, I thought it would be helpful to clarify the position. Cambodia’s land issues date from the time of the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975-1979 when sadly, large numbers of people were evacuated and relocated. There then followed a decade of civil war; by which time, squatter communities had developed and there was widespread confusion as to exactly who owned every piece of land.

In May 2012, the Royal Government of Cambodia introduced a moratorium on new land concessions and called for a review of all existing concessions. The government has provided a specific commitment to seize concessions which have been left underdeveloped or where illegal logging, mining or other misuse has taken place. The government has also introduced an ambitious land-titling policy as part of a campaign to address land disputes across the country. So far this has seen the official reallocation of almost 480,000 hectares of land and the issuing of nearly 110,000 new land title certificates to villagers. The goal is to allocate more than one million hectares of land before the national elections in July and two million hectares by April 2014. These initiatives have been warmly welcomed by both community associations and human rights bodies in Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has himself travelled to 20 provinces to hand over land title certificates. He has praised the task force of government workers and youth brigade volunteers who have carried out the important task of measuring the land to be reallocated. He has also praised the cooperation of villagers, local authorities and the armed forces in supporting these reforms.

I should be grateful if you would publish this response in full.

 

 

**********
 

 

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Copyright © ROYAL EMBASSY OF CAMBODIA – LONDON
Published by Strategic and Diplomatic Communications Unit (SDCU)
 

 


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