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3 Jan 2017

Aisha Down, Cambodia Daily

Cambodia: New Environmental Code described as “most comprehensive piece of human rights legislation”, but many remain doubtful that it will bring change

“Hopes, Doubts as Environmental Code Finalized”, 2 Jan 2016

The new Environmental Code, a sweeping piece of legislation that is set to overhaul how protected and communal land are governed and give unprecedented control to the Environment Ministry, was finalized on Sunday and will be released to the public this week…

“With its provisions on access to information, public participation, explicit safeguards and citizens’ rights, the code will be the most comprehensive piece of human rights legislation ever enacted by the Cambodian government,” said Brian Rohan of the Vishnu Law Group.

Under the code, some 40 percent of Cambodia’s land is put under the control of the Ministry of Environment. All of that land, as the law stands, is eligible to be jointly controlled by local authorities and the communities who depend on it for their livelihoods.

Many of those who would be most affected by the law remain doubtful about how much change it will bring, and whether it will offer them any land security at all.

…Bun Thai, a monitor for rights group Licadho in Ratanakkiri, said local officials had convinced him that the law would only hurt the indigenous communities it is meant to help...