Flash News

Land activists charged, detained in Kampong Speu

Published on March 11, 2016

This morning, two female land activists were charged under the land law and sent to pre-trial detention by Kampong Speu provincial court.

You Ron, 51, and Ith Rom, 56, were detained in Kampong Speu provincial prison after being charged alongside another female activist, Ith Mom, 47. All three face up to two years’ imprisonment. The charges relate to a land dispute which started in 2011 in Phnom Chhrouch district, Kampong Speu province, when soldiers from the military “ACO” armored vehicle unit encroached on the land of around 100 families. Many of the affected families had farmed the land since 1979. In 2011, one of the detained activists – You Ron – was beaten unconscious by soldiers as she attempted to stop them clearing the land.

In 2013, volunteer students sent to the area in the context of the government’s 2012 land titling scheme (Directive 01) failed to give land titles to the affected families. They instead issued titles to 83 families, some connected to military soldiers, who had not lived in that area previously. The land was later sold to companies. In 2015, representative of the 83 families filed a complaint against six community representatives, including the three women charged today.