Multiple Migrations, Displacements and Land Transfers at Ta Kream in Northwest Cambodia

TitleMultiple Migrations, Displacements and Land Transfers at Ta Kream in Northwest Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPilgrim J, Chanrith N, Diepart J-C
Secondary AuthorsHecht S, Kandel S, Morales A
Secondary TitleMigration, Rural Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management
Place PublishedEl Salvador
Key themesAccessToJustice, Formalisation-titling, MarginalisedPeople, MigrationLabour

The Cambodian case examines migration, land tenure and land management, in a context of conflict and the use of force in land transfers since the time of the Khmer Rouge regime to the present, by studying five agro-ecological zones close to the Kamping Pouy irrigation system in Battambang Province. The study combines analysis of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of household use of land and labor with a historical and ethnographic review of conflict and institutional factors in successive land administrations. Continuing in-migration is reflected in population increases in Battambang and other provinces of Northwest Cambodia in conditions of limited land availability and landlordism, and conflict over expropriation of land by armed groups and business interests. Land transfers to a growing wealthy class of businessmen and government officials have contributed to the creation of a subclass of very poor, landless households whose livelihoods depend on agricultural wage labor, locally and in Thailand, and access to the commons. Access to land for a substantial proportion of the community depends on either tenancy, sharecropping or wage labor on the land of wealthier farmers. Three problematic processes that run counter to the Cambodian Constitution and Land Law are systemic: 1) the usurpation of land rights by locally operating armed groups; 2) legitimation of such land acquisition by military-business-government officials by corrupt officeholders and local government officials; and 3) the capture of rents or profits by agencies responsible for safeguarding natural resources.


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