Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indigenous land exploited

Indigenous land exploited

Indigenous land exploited

120302_05

The Royal Government of Cambodia and private land developers were exploiting indigenous communities in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces by signing concession deals for the communities’ land without prior consultation, advocates said yesterday.

{jathumbnail}

“We urge the government as well as the private sector to respect [indigenous peoples’] rights to their land . . .  and their rights to independence and cultural integrity,” Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum, said.

“All these projects must be planned with care, transparency and accountability.”

The NGO Forum of Cambodia launched its publication on “Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Development” pointing the finger at the government and companies who were making land deals behind closed doors that affected indigenous peoples’ land.

One case study in Ratanakkiri’s Malik commune, in Andong Meas district, used in the publication describes how the Heng Brother Company began bulldozing its economic concession of 20 hectares of forest.

Villagers, who were unaware a concession had been granted, were bribed with $100 payments to assist in clearing their own forest land, or have the land cleared by bulldozers and receive no payment at all.

Department of Mines director Sim Sisokhaly told the Post the law was very clear that companies must have the written agreement of landowners affected by a concession.

“The government has an accurate law, and companies that have economic land concessions must follow this policy,” Sim Sisokhaly said.

Sek Sophoan, national co-ordinator for the International Labour Office, said yesterday  the obligations of the Cambodian government and private companies to respect indigenous peoples’ rights were very clear.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman