ABSTRACT

Because of their importance to local livelihoods, natural resource rights have become a focal point for the most active experimentation and evolution of human rights-based advocacy in Cambodia. Human rights, community development, and conservation organizations engaged in supporting communities to defend resource rights face severe obstacles. These include a rapid and broad reallocation of state-owned and privately held lands to commercial concessions, widespread local land conflicts, a court system that has proven systematically ineffective at resolving such conflicts independently, and a fast-changing legal and regulatory framework. Civil society organizations have adopted a wide range of approaches to seek progress amidst these obstacles, learning from each other, building alliances, and adapting through experience. And yet, while there are notable advances, many engaged in this work feel that the collective efforts of civil society are too fractured, their results falling short of potential, and that a more coherent approach is needed.