Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Corporate responsibility warranted to protect rights

Corporate responsibility warranted to protect rights

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Villagers from Koh Kong province came to protest in front of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in September, 2020. Hong Menea

Corporate responsibility warranted to protect rights

The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) released a statement on “Business and Human Rights: Corporate Accountability in Land Rights Violations”, dated December 25, to give an overview of the challenges in seeking corporate accountability regarding land rights issues.

According to the press release obtained by The Post on December 27, the CCHR examined various mechanisms available to those facing land rights violations in the country and the methods employed by communities to achieve a resolution.

The press release said CCHR analysed four land disputes – one each in Mondulkiri, Oddar Meanchey, Pursat and Koh Kong provinces – which affected more than 1,800 households.

The disputes are between indigenous communities and rubber company Socfin-KCD in Mondulkiri; between villagers and Mitr Phol Sugar Company in Oddar Meanchey; between villagers and the MDS Company in the MDS Thmor Da Special Economic Zone in Pursat; and between villagers and Koh Kong Sugar Industry Co Ltd and Koh Kong Plantation Co Ltd in Koh Kong.

According to CCHR, systematic violation of land rights is one of the most prevalent human rights issues in Cambodia. A core part of this problem is that it is difficult to hold companies accountable for their human rights impacts.

Businesses across the globe have an impact, directly or indirectly, on virtually all human rights.

CCHR said companies are frequently accused of land grabbing, forced evictions and disrespecting indigenous land rights. As a result of desk and field research, the centre identified nine areas of concern regarding corporate accountability in Cambodia.

It raised 26 recommendations to the government, companies operating in the country and civil society organisations in order to effectively prevent, mitigate and remedy these concerns and to promote a fairer, more transparent and effective land dispute resolution process nationwide.

CCHR business and human rights project coordinator Vann Sophath explained that this report follows and updates an initial report released in 2018.

The report now highlighted the level of corporate accountability that had been achieved with regard to companies that had violated land rights in the country.

“This brief report, which went through in-depth research and comprehensive studies, was discussed among stakeholders. The report is announced publicly and presented to the relevant companies and institutions to seek an appropriate solution for [land grab] victims,” he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan urged those affected to resolve land disputes through court proceedings. He claimed that if a case becomes a political issue, there would be no solution.

He said that it is illegal to encroach upon the rightful land of another person.

“Human rights [advocates] should look at the facts, as doing so would indicate who is violating the law.

“If [our intention] is just for gaining personal benefit, it can be considered as a violation of human rights. That is not addressing human rights. It is an attempt to attack the head of government,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro