Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs discuss sugar settlement concerns




NGOs discuss sugar settlement concerns

CHRAC secretary-general Suon Bunsak, Sim Sitha, Chan Vichet and Sao Seny at a compensation meeting on April 10 in Kampong Speu. Photo supplied
CHRAC secretary-general Suon Bunsak (centre) attends a compensation meeting on April 10 in Kampong Speu. Photo supplied

NGOs discuss sugar settlement concerns

Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) staff held a meeting yesterday in the absence of their secretary-general, Suon Bunsak, to discuss how to respond to concerns about Bunsak’s approval of a settlement between hundreds of evicted Kampong Speu villagers and Phnom Penh Sugar.

Compensation recipients, community leaders and NGOs claimed that the company, owned by tycoon and ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat, obtained the settlement agreements in a climate of bullying and coercion, and only after co-opting certain community representatives, former NGO employees and Bunsak. Most recipients received only $500.

CHRAC secretary Leng Pich confirmed the meeting took place, adding that a further internal meeting with Bunsak present was planned, as well as another with members of CHRAC’s steering committee. He said Bunsak had a scheduling conflict during the initial meeting.

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), a donor to CHRAC, is currently assessing its relationship with the NGO, according to NPA country director Aksel Steen-Nilsen. He insisted that such assessments were an ongoing part of NPA’s relationship with its partners, but conceded that this one was taking place under unusual circumstances.

“What’s a bit special here is how did CHRAC suddenly get involved in this case,” Steen-Nilsen said, echoing concerns from Heinrich Boll Foundation country director Ali al-Nasani over CHRAC and Equitable Cambodia being involved separately on the same land dispute.

Former CHRAC donor USAID is also clarifying what has taken place by forwarding the allegations to its Office of the Inspector General, according to US Embassy spokesman Jay Raman.

NGOs also met with EU ambassador George Edgar yesterday. Equitable Cambodia executive director Eang Vuthy said he briefed Edgar on the situation in Kampong Speu among other issues. Edgar confirmed the briefing, but declined to comment further.

Bunsak could not be reached for comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia