Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi has been called on to investigate and seek justice for human rights violations caused by the development of two large-scale hydropower dams in Cambodia.
In a complaint filed to the UN envoy for human rights, several campaign groups are seeking intervention from the UN on behalf of thousands of villagers who will be affected by the Lower Sesan II and Stung Cheay Areng dam projects.
“Despite its severe impacts, there has been no transparency in the decision-making and no real consultation,” Meach Mean, coordinator of 3S Rivers Protection Network, said of the Lower Sesan II dam in Stung Treng province.
Villagers have complained of being pressured and intimidated by officials preparing for the dam, which will displace about 5,000 people.
The complaint also raises environmental concerns.
“The [Lower Sesan II] project will jeopardise the food security of hundreds of thousands of people in Cambodia and neighbouring countries”, Ame Trandem, Southeast Asia program director at International Rivers, said in a statement. “As this is one of the worst dams in the region and affected people’s human rights are not being respected, it’s clear that this dam needs to be further investigated and should be cancelled.”
The complaint also highlights growing concerns over the possible approval of construction of the Stung Cheay Areng dam in Koh Kong province, where about 1,500 locals, mostly ethnic minority Chorng people, would be relocated.
Subedi declined to comment until he had time to review the petition.