A Change of Guard

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Monday 31 May 2010

Farmers banned from entering their rice-fields after border post number 270 planted in their rice-fields

Video of villagers' complaint about border encroachments by Vietnam in Rumdenh village, Chantrea district in Svay Rieng province where 2 villagers and Sam Rainsy were sentenced to jail for uprooting border post number 185.

By Khmerization
Source: RFA

Farmers in Anh Chanh village in Chey Chok commune of Borei Cholasa district in Takeo province on the border with Vietnam have on 29th May complained that they have been prevented from entering their rice-fields to tender their crops after border number 270 was planted on their rice-fields, reports Radio Free Asia.

A farmer who owned a one hectare of rice-fields where border post number 270 was planted said that he is concerned that he might lose his lands after authority prevented him from entering his rice-fields. "Who can I protest to? If I protest, the authority will detain me. They told me to remain silent and that the government will not let me starve (to death). The lands with crops already planted won't be touched and that I will still can plant the rice again. But, what if they don't allow me to plant rice next year? I don't have any rice to harvest, so I have to harvest the Vietnamese rice?", he said.

On 25th May, 9 families in Anh Chanh village in Chey Chok comme of Borei Cholasa district in Takeo province protested against the planting of border post number 270, saying that the post had encroached about 200 metres into their lands which they said they had farmed since 1983.

However, Mr. Srey Ben, governor of Takeo province, said that no border posts were planted inside villagers' lands. "We work very hard to protect our territories. In the past, that lands were vacant bushlands. They just settled the people in the area recently. It was a grassland full of reeds. The border post opposed by the villagers was a just temporary border stake to identify the location of the border post. The authority has taken full responsibility and the Cambodian Border Commission was very clear (about the location of the border post)", he said.

The opposition Sam rainsy Party (SRP) has just written a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to order the suspension of border demarcation of the area and re-conduct the border survey in the area to ensure that Cambodian territory is not lost to Vietnam.

Mr. Yim Sovan, spokesman for the SRP, said the encroachments on villagers' lands in Borei Cholasa district due to border planting is a gross violation of human rights. "It is a serious violation of human rights. They intimidated the villagers until they are very scared to talk about the violation. But, I said the land is their rice-pots and they cannot survive without their lands. Whenever there are any encroachments on their lands, the authority tried to threaten them not to talk about the issue, but they still talk", he said.

Claims of Vietnam encroachments in Borei Cholasa came after 2 villagers and opposition leader Sam Rainsy were convicted and sentenced to jail term for uprooting border posts in Chantrea district in Svay Rieng province in later 2009 they claimed have encroached on their farmlands and the territorial integrity of Cambodia.

Mr. Rainsy, who lived in self-imposed exile in Paris, is currently touring the United States with Mr. Sean Pengse, chairman of the Paris-based Cambodian Border Committee, to explain to the Cambodian Diaspora about border issues.

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