Philip Skoczkowski log

Toronto, Canada.

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Sesame Fields Forever.

For the past week I’ve slept in different beds everyday, in different places and been missioning across Cambodia like crazy. After recovering from my food poisoning episode I travelled up north with Mu Sochua. Land grabbing was the case this time as many farmers in the province had been victims of unjust and illegal actions taken by “authorities”.  

Six AM breakfast in Phnom Penh followed by a 4 hour drive up North to Battambang lands us in Koh Kroloh district of the province. The more off-road our journey gets the closer we get to the village, where landless people are having their sesame crops destroyed by what is being recalled as “the others”.The land we stand on used to be a forest occupied by the Khmer Rouge, before integrating with the Royal Government Forces in 1997, and is now being seized by army chiefs. Despite the fact that the land is state owned, meaning that it is available for social concessions- for landless people, high ranking officials as well as private parties secretly want to keep this land as private. The issue has been brought up by landless farmers who have came from neighbouring districts in hope of harvesting state land as a mean for their livelihoods. The government on the provincial level has refused to come in and take control of the situation, leaving actions taken on this land highly questionable and evidently harmful for the landless farmers who have been residing the area for a number of years now.After meeting with the farmers and investigating the damaged fields, Sochua, her team and the victims were brought to the local police station to personally discuss land issues with the authorities.
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