Relevant ministries and several civil society organisations (CSO) on October 26 introduced a new set of internal rules to make it easier and more economical for indigenous people to receive communal land titles in Cambodia.
The announcement was made during an event entitled “Workshop on Launching and Disseminating New Format on Internal Rules and By-law for Indigenous People, Communal Land Title in Cambodia”.
Attended by 100 participants including representatives of indigenous people, CSO and government officials, the workshop was a result of a working group spending nearly a year revising the internal rules.
Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said at the event that indigenous people had requested the government to revise its procedures for them to obtain communal land titles.
In response to the requests, he said the ministries of Interior and Rural Development cooperated with organisations that supported indigenous people to re-check the internal rules.
Vannara said: “As a result, we revised the format on internal rules in communities of indigenous people and created document formats that are easy for implementation.
“The workshop on this launch will help all relevant parties understand clearly the new formats on internal rules in communities of indigenous people. We handed out the new formats to representatives of these communities for formal use.”
Sao Vansey, the executive director of the Indigenous Community Support Organisation, said the old rules had posed obstacles to communities of indigenous people in the country.
Sot Soeurng, a rural development ministry representative, said requests for communal land titles from indigenous people had increased recently. He expected that the new internal rules would make the process more efficient.
“Some communities of indigenous people have yet to be assessed and identified. The rural development ministry urges a speedy identification process because this matter cannot be delayed for a dozen years. The ministry is coming up with strategies to list these communities,” he said.
According to the NGO Forum on Cambodia, as of the end of 2019, there were 501 communities of indigenous people in the Kingdom. Of the number, 150 were recognised by the rural development ministry. Another 150 communities were listed as legal entities at the Ministry of Interior and 30 communities had received communal land titles from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
There are 24 groups of indigenous people living throughout Cambodia and they account for 1.34 per cent of the population.