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2 Apr 2018

Inclusive Development International

Case Brief: Class Action Lawsuit by Cambodian Villagers Against Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation

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The plaintiffs  are two  Cambodian  citizens residing in Samrong District, Oddar Meanchey Province, in northwestern Cambodia.  The plaintiffs represent a class of approximately 600 families...The defendant is Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation Limited, a privately owned group of companies domiciled in Thailand...The defendant engages in large-scale sugarcane cultivation, and production and distribution of sugar...In January 2008, the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) granted three 70-year economic land concessions (ELCs) for industrial sugarcane production in the Samraong and Chongkal districts of Oddar Meanchey province to the three companies linked to Mitr Pohl...Cambodian Land Law Article 59 says that “Land concession areas shall not be more than 10,000 hectares” and that “the issuance of land concession titles on several places relating to surface areas that are greater than [10,000 hectaress]in favor of one specific person or several legal entities controlled by the same natural  persons  is  prohibited.”...Throughout 2008-2009, the plaintiffs and group members were forced to give up their land for the Angkor Sugar Company concession.  Affected households lost extensive rice fields, plantation/orchard land, and grazing land as well as the associated crops that sustained their livelihoods...The gravest human rights violations occurred in O’Bat Moan village, which was entirely destroyed to make way for the defendant’s plantations...The  plaintiffs...are  seeking  to claim their right  to an effective remedy in the justice system of Thailand...