Cambodia: Phnom Penh Sugar compensates Kampong Speu villagers for displacement from sugar plantation; many claim intimidation & coercion
A Phnom Penh Sugar representative reported in May 2016 that the company has offered compensation packages from $500 to $10,000 to families in their Kampong Speu land concession. Community members and NGOs have alleged forced eviction and other abuses in the land since the granting of the concession in 2010.
A number of NGOs and community members are claiming that the compensation packages were inadequate, and have accused the company of coercion, intimidation and the co-option of community and NGO leaders. Statements from community and NGO members, as well as the company are provided in the reports below.
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Author: Jack Davies & Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post
Following a years-long campaign by land rights activists and NGOs, Phnom Penh Sugar has finally offered compensation to families displaced by its Kampong Speu sugar plantation, although not everyone is impressed.
Company spokesman Sim Sitha said…that 364 families had…been offered compensation packages of between $500 and $10,000 on the basis of a fact-finding investigation led by Phnom Penh Sugar, whose plantation is part of a 9,000-hectare economic land concession granted to CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat in 2010…
However, Eang Vuthy, executive director of NGO Equitable Cambodia – which declined to take part in the compensation process – said the fact-finding process lacked transparency and was marred by intimidation and coercion, adding that he felt the compensation on offer was inadequate…
Author: Jack Davies & Bun Sengkong, Phnom Penh Post
16 Jun 2016
In 2010, more than 1,500 families in Kampong Speu’s Oral district were evicted from the land they had cultivated since the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979 to make way for a Phnom Penh Sugar Company mega-plantation.
After years of campaigning, many of those families in recent weeks accepted compensation packages from the company…While the money offered was minimal, the deals received the stamp of approval of Suon Bunsak, head of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a prominent umbrella NGO.
However, recipients, community leaders and NGOs have since raised concerns that the company – which has previously been accused not only of forced evictions but also using child labour – obtained the settlement agreements in a climate of bullying and coercion, and only after co-opting other community representatives, former NGO employees and even Bunsak himself…