|Cambodia: State grants three groups ethnic status|
26 November 2010: Government officials have identified 21 communities of indigenous peoples from two provinces in Cambodia as ethnic minority groups, with a further 10 communities awaiting similar approval.
Seng Narong, a consultant at the Department of Ethnic Minority Development at the Ministry of Rural Development, said yesterday during the sixth National Forum on Indigenous Participation in Development that the 21 groups in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces were approved as ethnic minorities.
The recognition of their ethnic minority status makes them eligible for officials to register their communal lands and preserve their cultures.
“It means we recognise them as Kreung, Tumpuon and Jarai ethnic minority groups,” he said, and added that the government had been working on the three communal land registrations since 2009 and that a further 10 communities would be recognised by the end of the year.
But more than 100 representatives from indigenous groups across 15 provinces gathered outside the forum to express their concerns that their rights have been violated by economic land concessions awarded by the government to local businessmen.
Cambodia: Village Organizing Program from Indigenous Community Support Organisation
Indigenous communities, while having the desire to have communal land titles, need to to be well-organized, have strong identity and have the legal recognition in order to legally own land as a community. In order to obtain legal recognition, communities must first organize, develop management plans for the future, and have statutes that outline the internal management and representation of the community, based on the traditional management structure, with adaptations desired by the community.
In 2009, the village organizing project identified 7 villages as extra villages for developing community statutes, bringing the total to 25 villages. 21 of the 25 target villages have developed their statutes. 20 of 21 villages that had developed the statutes have been evaluated by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Provincial Local Administration Unit for recognition of indigenous community identity. Moreover, 6 of the 20 villages have been also evaluated by the MoI in cooperation with the Department of Rural Development of the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Authorities for the process of recognition of community legal entity. 4 of the 6 villages have already evaluated at the community level. 2 of 4 villages were already endorsed by commune chiefs to provincial and Ministry of Interior.
The 25 targeted villages for village organizing are located in the districts of Bokao, Lumphat, O Chum, and Oyadao in Ratanakiri province. 36% of them are in the district of Bokeo (9 villages), 28% in Lumphat (7 villages), 20% in O Yadao (5 villages), and 16% in O Chum (5 villages). In this report, rate of accomplishment is indicated to gauge the progress in each target village. Average accomplishment rate at the commune, district, and provincial level is likewise presented. Such rating is based on the criteria/requirements set by the MoI against the actual accomplishments.
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