NGO urges law amendments to protect indigenous peoples

Draft amendment to Protected Areas Act and Forestry Act should grant indigenous communities traditional right to livelihoods and beliefs, protection and management of natural resources, says non-governmental organization at a press conference yesterday.

According to the Indigenous Peoples’ Community Organization, as many as 80 indigenous people have been arrested by local authorities due to the Protected Areas Act.

The event saw a discussion on the contributions collected for the draft amendment of the law on protected areas and the forest law.

Yon Dane, director of the NGO, said that indigenous peoples are discriminated against and deprived of their right to land and natural resources, as indicated in the content of the draft amendments to the Forest Law and the on protected areas.

Victims of historic injustices, the natives are suffering at the hands of local authorities because the authorities have accused them of living in private economic land concessions, and so far 80 natives have been imprisoned, Dane added.

“As we know, our indigenous peoples are very different, including origin, language, ancestry, customs, traditions, cultures, social systems and structures,” Dane said.

She also said that all members express the unity of ethnicity, traditional rules, language, knowledge, beliefs, religious practices and multi-religions closely related to forests, land, resources natural and permanent.

Meoun Vuthy, an Indigenous Rights Activist (IRAM) member, also said yesterday that the indigenous peoples community is under threat because the local authorities deceive them by giving them the excuse of development and then sell them to private companies.

“Indigenous peoples are seriously affected by forestry development projects without fair consultation,” he said.

He added that the indigenous peoples agreed to hold four consultations such as the incorporation of the individual and collective rights of the indigenous peoples to access information, sufficient time in advance, fair and collective consultation without intimidation, threats or restriction of rights to practice slash and burn cultivation. or other land, forest and natural resource management rights.

Phleuk Phearum, Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Network, also said that many indigenous peoples seem to be losing their sustainability, culture, traditions and religious beliefs due to local authorities letting private companies carry out development projects in their areas. .

She added that the provinces of Mondulkiri and Stung Treng are the most affected and that indigenous people live there.

“I would like relevant ministries to clarify the provisions on indigenous peoples in the draft amendments to the two laws that are consistent with other laws in force in the Kingdom of Cambodia, such as the Civil Code and the Land Law,” he said. she declared.

  • Key words: forest law, law on protected areas