Cambodia – Cambodian farmers protest land seizure

265

Location: Chhvang village, Sam Ang commune, Thala Borivat district, Stung Treng province

Language: Cambodian

Duration: 00:06:38

Source: A24

Restrictions: A24 Subscribers

Dateline: 18-04-2022

Storyline:

Farmers involved in land disputes in Chhvang village, Sam Ang commune, Thala Borivat district, Stung Treng province protested against Lin Votey Company as the company’s soldiers did not allow them to continue cultivating in their farmlands. They sought official intervention for the long-running land disputes with authorities and companies, denouncing illegal clearing of community land. The framers said they asked the chief of the commune to solve their issue but he ignored their demands, asking them to contact someone else. They complained that the company cleared their lands, affecting both cashews and potatoes plants. Nhen Phorn, community President of Phnom Chum Rok Sat, said his superiors signed contracts to seize lands from farmers, denying any role in the issue.

Shot list:

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Yourn Yun (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“In 2012, I came to live here and also farmed. 2018 community was created and they came here to set up a border. So far, an unnamed company has banned people from growing crops such as potatoes, rice, cashews.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mrs. Thorn Sary (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

” they(solidiers) are clearing  our farmland without any FYI, the people came to stop them. The bulldozers were group with a car at behind and other three soldiers with three guns. The soldiers who came to clear the area were soldiers who worked for Lin Vatey company. Lin Vatey company hired the soldiers to protect the company’s properties. And yesterday, the soldiers came to ban farmers in this area from continuing to cultivate on community land, they mentioned commune’s director told them like that.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Sear Kunthea (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“ I used to work in the fields every day, but they came and forbade me to work. I said I have been farming here for more than 10 years, why did you ban us?”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Ny Sokneam (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“We are in big trouble, we are working hard here, if they forbid us to do so and take our land, we will be miserable. For me personally, there are more than 1,900 cashew trees, some 3 years old, some 4 years old.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mrs. Red T-shirt (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“The company cleared my land, which affected both cashews and potatoes. Nowadays, my family lives depend on this farm, and if they take my farmland, what else can I rely on? I have no place to live anymore.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Heng Ney Seang (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“The people are already farming and the cashews are 7 to 8 years old and the people are harvesting some yield and some farmers are very poor, company did like this how people can live and where they will go?”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Yourn Oun (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“My land is affected in that area, about 2 hectares, from that tall tree to here.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Yourn Oun (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“We came to live here our problems may need them to help, commune chief, the village chief. We asked them to help us find a solution here, but they never came.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mrs. Thorn Sary (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“Yesterday, we contacted the community leader to ask for intervention, but the community leader told us to contact the commune chief who could help. We also contacted the commune chief, but the commune chief told us to contact the village chief. we go to meet the chief of village, when we reached his house, he told us go to meet the commune chief because only the commune chief could solve this problem.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Yourn Yun (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“He does not seem to know how to help the people in this area, we want his help, he never helped us. We called him to come here to solve the problem, he did not come, he just let his team come, his team came, but came only for a short time they go back to the village. How they solve this problem?”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Nhen Phorn (Community President of Phnom Chum Rok Sat):

“This problem happened not because of me, it happened because of my superiors, I did not sign any document. the company came to intimidate me two or three times, I still refused to sign, the company went to ask for the signature of the commune chief, village chief, district, province, and then returned the document to me. For this, I also went to rely on CEPA (Culture and Environment Preservation Association), Department of Agriculture of Stung Treng province and make a complaint. Finally, the company called me to the construction site, if I did not go, it is mean that I discriminating against the development work of the Royal Government. The company said that the underground of land belongs to the Royal Government for the development, so if I do not cooperate, it is mean I discriminate.

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Heng Ney Seang (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“In the past, we met with the commune authorities and they said that this land could be cultivated by people, but they did not have the right to sell it, we could be cultivated until the next generation, and forever, but now they do not keep their promises. Today, I was so scared I could not sleep.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mrs. Nang Ren (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Sam Ang district Steung Treng province):

“I do not give my farmland to the company, I have lived here for a long time, if I lost my farmland, how can we live.”

–        (SOUNDBITE) Mr. Sorn Ly (Farmer in Chvang Village, Sam’Ang Commune, Thala Borivat district, Stung Treng province):

“All people, who live in Phnom Thom area around 10 years are facing some problems because there are some companies forbidding us to continue farming in this area. We would like to ask the local authorities and community leaders to help us, please find a solution. if the company takes our land, we will have nothing to live on. Please help us.”

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