Cambodia: New legislation helps indigenous peoples to gain land rights

In December 2011, the Tumpoun people became one of the first three communities in Cambodia to receive land titles for their territory, under a pilot scheme initiated by the Cambodian Government.

The 700 hectares of farmland shared amongst 130 Tumpoun families is now secure and one of the country’s most marginalized groups is looking forward to a new era of social justice by being given the means to shape their own future. For the Tumpoun, and other indigenous peoples, land titles mean more than just the possession of property. Indigenous communities make up around 3 per cent of Cambodia’s population and are among the most vulnerable groups in Cambodian society. Land is of a unique importance to their way of life and identity, yet in recent years indigenous people have increasingly come under threat from deforestation, mining and agricultural businesses implemented through (often controversial) government land concessions. Without recognition that the land is theirs to cultivate, it would be impossible for them to lift themselves out of poverty and take an equal stake in society.

Tags: Land rights

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

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