Regular New Mandala reader Michele Legge contributes this insight into ongoing displacement in Cambodia. A good reminder of the importance of maintaining a focus on the poor and vulnerable. Michele writes:
The woman pictured here was among the millions of Khmer displaced during Pol Pot’s collectivisation experiment which emptied Cambodia’s urban areas, created rural upheaval, and saw more than a quarter of the population die of starvation or disease or be executed under the guise of crimes against the state. More than 30 years on, as UN-sanctioned judges prepare to bring to trial (in early 2007) the few remaining Pol Pot cronies, many Khmers continue to face displacement. It’s not conflict they’re fleeing this time, but usually landlessness and land tenure disputes. Land grabbing from the poor and vulnerable by highly-ranked officials and well-placed government officials is a major concern. A lack of clear political process, political will (in some cases) to enforce the law, high levels of corruption, ambiguous land titling agreements and a lack of clarity of land rights complicates the process.