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

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The