Land disputes are becoming increasingly common in countries where governments regularly concede the land of small-scale farmers to corporations for large-scale development. In March 2011, the Cambodian prime minister conceded 4,000 hectares of farmland in the Northwest to a private company, and forced thousands of villagers from their land. As a result, serious conflicts occurred between local authorities and villagers in the affected areas. In one instance, security forces hired by the company beat and detained two women’s human rights defenders. In response, people from 15 affected villages began to hold gatherings to discuss their rights, and in this process women leaders came forward to participate in the gatherings to defend their land and human rights. Women’s rights organization Strey Khmer (SK) requested funds to conduct community meetings, trainings for women on land rights, and media coverage via a weekly radio show with the intention of mobilizing women to ensure that the right to land is part of the election agenda prior to the June 2011 elections. SK also planned to use a portion of the funds to implement security measures for activists who have come under threat.
SK advocates for women’s human rights and reaches out to grassroots women through training, community organizing and economic activities.