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The Implementation of Cambodia’s Laws on Land Tenure: Squatters on Private Land

May 13th, 2008 · No Comments

Author: HAP Phalthy

Publication date: June 2007

Language: English

Type of documents: Master’s thesis paper


There is an urgent need for Cambodia to ensure that land management be persistently and fairly implemented towards all the social strata of the population. How the land management and implementation of laws and regulations influence the public daily life is the main focus of this paper. Social disarray cannot be well prevented unless the country is based on the rule of law. Similarly, land crisis can be predicted if the government does not have a strong political will to manage the nation’s land. The possibility to get the benefit from the land requires that we find ways to ensure the fair land distribution to every citizen and encourage land use. Each relevant government agency plays a vital role in achieving the goal. Methodologically, this paper has resulted from interviewing more than 100 squatters and some NGOs’ staff whose work relates to the improvement of the living standards of the squatters during the 2006 summer. This research relies on legal documents from government agencies and other related documents from NGOs. The actual understanding from this fieldwork makes it possible to realize what the facts are and how to analyze those facts and use them to achieve a better outcome. Overall, the findings propose two main legal suggestions. First, the stability of land titles which prevents the owners from any fear of losing ownership and also encourages the titleholders to invest in land should be seriously taken into account. Second, adverse possession may allow the adverse possessors to claim for titles of ownership if there are imprecise aspects in the status of particular properties. The law of adverse possession plays an important role in some developed countries such as England and the United States; and developing countries such as Brazil and Peru.

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