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EU making ‘progress’ on Mitr Phol sugar disputes

The European Union has said it has made “good progress” towards finalising an agreement with the government over compensation claims made by thousands of villagers from Oddar Meanchey province who were evicted from their homes by Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol.

On Monday, the Post reported that Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation had withdrawn from its three economic land concessions in the province after years of allegations of abuses against workers and villagers.

The EU and a high-level government team are currently auditing the company’s activities since it was awarded the concessions in 2008 in a bid to seek redress for affected villagers.

“The team has been working with senior government staff under the auspices of the high-level inter-ministerial working group … and has made good progress in the finalisation in the frame of an engagement from the royal government to find a definitive and durable solution acceptable to all,” the EU’s ambassador to Cambodia, Jean-Francois Cautain, said yesterday.

“The EU will continue to call on the Royal Government to take appropriate action, in line with national legislation and the principles contained in the human rights conventions Cambodia is a signatory to.”

Eang Sophalleth, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, could not be reached for comment.

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