Land cleared for Rubber, Rights Bulldozed

Land rights under siege by actions of both the Cambodian government and European and Cambodian companies

In Cambodia, rights of indigenous people do not weigh much in front of agri-business and the Cambodian government, concludes an FIDH report released today. This report is the result of an international fact-finding mission which documented the impact of industrial rubber plantations operated by the company Socfin-KCD in Bousra, in Mondulkiri province, eastern Cambodia.

Socfin-KCD is a joint venture between KCD (which owns 20%), a prominent Cambodian construction company with close ties to governmental figures and Socfinasia (which owns 80%) a holding company registered in Luxembourg, owned and managed mainly by French industrial group Bolloré and Belgian families Fabri and de Ribes.

Socfin-KCD manages two concessions for a total of more than 7000 ha, which affect over 850 Bunong families who had to leave their agricultural land. The Bunong are an indigenous people of Cambodia practising shifting cultivation. The report highlights the lack of transparency and a number of irregularities in the granting of economic land concessions, the absence of adequate consultation and compensation of evicted Bunong families, and the destruction of sacred and ancestral sites.

Under pressure and without being previously consulted, most of the families had no choice but to sell their land at a very low price. The loss of their lands and the destruction of ancestral sites leave these communities in an extremely vulnerable state”, said Thun Saray, President of ADHOC (Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association - FIDH member organisation in Cambodia).

We urge the Cambodian government to declare a moratorium on all economic land concessions. FIDH demands that Socfin-KCD suspend its operations, reviews the compensations granted to affected families and take all necessary measures to ensure respect of the Bunongs’ rights, the protection of their culture and the protection of their livelihoods....” underlined Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

FIDH also calls on European States in particular Luxembourg, France and Belgium to hold accountable corporations under their jurisdiction for human rights abuses committed abroad.

Full report and executive summary:

Land cleared for Rubber, Rights Bulldozed

Summary in Khmer:

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