Formalizing Inequality: Land Titling in Cambodia

TitleFormalizing Inequality: Land Titling in Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBugalski N, Pred D
Key themesAccessToJustice, Dispossession-grabbing, FDI, Formalisation-titling, MarginalisedPeople, Policy-law, Urban

The Land Law of 2001 was a landmark statute intended to strengthen and protect the rights of ordinary Cambodian landholders. A land titling programme (LMAP) was initiated soon afterwards, with extensive World Bank and donor support. The land occupied by the community of Boeung Kak, in the heart of the capital was excluded from this process, despite evidence of prior residence going back decades. Instead it was classifi ed as having “unknown status” by the LMAP, as “state land” by default, and as a “development zone” by authorities. This paper highlights the failure of the LMAP programme to protect the rights of vulnerable people living on sought-after land. Instead residents’ insecurity has increased: while many have been forced to leave, more than 2,000 families still remain and are standing their ground under threat of forced eviction. The paper also describes the community’s action to bring a case to the World Bank Inspection Panel, demanding that the World Bank undo the damage caused to their community.


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