Subedi talks rights with CCC president Kith Meng

Subedi talks rights with CCC president Kith Meng

The United Nation’s human rights envoy Surya Subedi met yesterday with the president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, Kith Meng, to discuss human rights and economic growth in the Kingdom.

At the top of the agenda was the management of economic land concessions and the role businesses have to play in the displacement of people from their land, Subedi said after the meeting.

“We discussed also the Borei Keila, Beoung Kak lake and a number of areas where land grabbing has been a problem, where people have not been consulted, negotiated and compensated properly,” he added.

Subedi said talks were positive and that he felt optimistic after leaving the discussion.

“Human rights and economic growth are not opposed to each other, they can go hand in hand. How best they can go together – that is where Cambodia Chamber of Commerce has role to play,” he added.

A 2013 report by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights indicated that, since 2000, more than 700,000 people have been negatively affected by ELCs nationwide, with almost a fifth of Cambodia’s land area handed over to private companies.

Since 2012, the government says it has reclaimed more than 600,000 hectares of leased land from 71 private companies for failing to meet their commitment to develop the land.

Speaking on behalf of CCC president Kith Meng, the chamber of commerce director-general, Ngoun Meng Tech, said the role of the CCC in land disputes was limited.

The issue of underdeveloped ELCs and land grabbing was down to “opportunist” protesters and companies looking to make a quick buck, Tech said.

“So far, the ELCs have not been monitored well as opportunists come out and join land grabbing protests,” Tech said.

“There are also cases of companies that want a return for their investment too soon and they are not doing things according to their master development plan of the ELC,” he added.

Tech said that none of CCC’s members were heavily invested in ELCs and it was the responsibility of the authorities to monitor human rights.

The ministry of Agriculture this week said a total of 115 ELCs, covering a land area of 1.2 million hectares, are currently under review for their lack of development. Vietnamese and Chinese companies hold the majority of land concessions in Cambodia, with 82 concessions in 17 provinces.

“I support the government to take back the ELCs which are not developed,” said Srey Chanthy, an independent economic analyst who specialises in agriculture.

“Though there is recent termination on ELC to those companies who failed to archive their master plan, I have not seen any long term policy or mechanism to better manage ELCs,” he said.

The seized ELCs will have little impact on Cambodia’s economy as so far the return from concessions has been relatively low Chanthy said.

If managed correctly by “serious” investors, economic concessions could make a decent economic contribution he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong