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Cambodia: Report shows that poor farmers experience land loss and human rights abuse in Cambodia's micro-finance sector

Author: LICADHO & STT, Published on: 9 August 2019

"Collateral Damage: Land Loss and Abuses in Cambodia's Microfinance Sector", 7 August 2019

LICADHO and STT examine human rights abuses in Cambodia's microfinance sector

More than 2 million Cambodians currently have a loan with a microfinance institution, or MFI. Levels of debt have skyrocketed in recent years, leading to a number of human rights abuses, including coerced land sales, child labour, debt-driven migration, and bonded labour, according to a joint report…

Collateral Damage: Land Losses and Abuses in Cambodia’s Microfinance Sector details the size and scope of Cambodia’s MFI sector and seeks to highlight the human rights abuses that researchers discovered. The research … and features seven detailed case studies of abuses, chosen from the 28 MFI clients who suffered human rights abuses that were interviewed by researchers…

Many debt holders are also engaging in high-risk private borrowing to cope with unsustainable levels of MFI debt…

Development agencies and state banks are shareholders or lending partners of many of Cambodia’s largest MFIs. These include but are not limited to the development agencies or state banks of Austria, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the European Investment Bank, as well as significant investment from the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, and World Bank.

Poor farmers should not be subjected to predatory financial activity, .... LICADHO and STT call on the Cambodian government, microfinance institutions and international investors to reform these practices and ensure that Cambodians are no longer forced to sell land and suffer human rights abuses in order to pay their debts.

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