Cambodia: Displaced villagers bring OECD complaint against ANZ for allegedly financing project linked to forced land confiscation; ANZ responds

Photo-shared-by-Equitable-Cambodia-credit-to-Nicolas-Axelrod-Thomas-Cristofoletti

Linked below are stories related to the complaint filed by villagers, represented by NGOs Equitable Cambodia and Inclusive Development International, before the Australian National Contact Point under the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Earlier stories on this case are available here

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Article
20 October 2014

Displaced Cambodians file OECD complaint against ANZ Bank for financing massive land grab

Author: Equitable Cambodia & Inclusive Development International

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited ANZ to respond; response provided.] Inclusive Development International and Equitable Cambodia have filed a formal complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against the Australian ANZ Bank. The complaint was lodged on behalf of 681 families who were forcibly displaced and dispossessed of their land and property to make way for a sugar plantation and refinery that received significant financing from ANZ. The complaint describes widespread breaches by ANZ of its responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises…According to the complaint: “In addition to forced evictions, military-backed land seizures, and destruction of crops and property, the project is also implicated in arbitrary arrests and intimidation of villagers and the widespread use of child labour.” ANZ is believed to have provided tens of millions of dollars to the Phnom Penh Sugar Company…

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Company response
20 October 2014

[PDF] ANZ response

Author: ANZ

…[W]e can confirm that ANZ will cooperate with and assist the ANCP [Australian National Contact Point] with its enquiries…[W]e have outlined [in this response]…our approach to responsible business lending and an update on our response to issues raised with ANZ regarding Phnom Penh Sugar Company…ANZ respects and understands the concerns of...the members of the Thpong and Aoral district communities…[and] recently wrote to these community representatives. We have enclosed the letter in both English and a Khmer translation…[I]t is important to note that ANZ financed part of the factory construction…[and] did not finance the acquisition of concession land nor did we finance the plantation…Ultimately, the core of this dispute relates to land and resettlement from land. These are issues that can only be resolved from Phnom Penh Sugar Company and the Cambodian government…

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