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Article

3 Aug 2022

Author:
Jack Brook, The Globe

Cambodia & Thailand: Affected land communities in forced eviction hope Thai court to deliver justice as class action against Mitr Phol proceeds to trial

"Cambodians face sugar giant in Thai court", 3 August 2022

Despite being forced from her home in Cambodia without compensation and giving birth while imprisoned for speaking out, Hoy Mai believes she will finally receive justice after more than a decade when she appears in a civil court in Thailand.

Mai is expected to testify as a lead plaintiff in Southeast Asia’s first transboundary class action lawsuit as the case heads to trial in the coming months. The complaint brought by 712 Cambodians from northwest Oddar Meanchey province claims they were forcibly evicted by subsidiaries of Thai-based Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation ...

Although implicated in domestic human rights abuses and seeking to erode human rights accountability by weakening civil society, Thailand has allowed class action lawsuits since 2015 and was the first country in Southeast Asia to publish a business and human rights action plan with a strategy to improve accountability in multinational corporations.

… Thailand’s Court of Appeals denied Mitr Phol’s motion to dismiss the Cambodian class action lawsuit …, clearing the way for a trial…

“… Without a class action available to the plaintiffs, they would have a very difficult time accessing justice as individuals and would be deterred from doing so”, Eang Vuthy, EC Executive Director…

An email from Mitr Phol said the company’s actions in Cambodia were “in compliance with all local and national laws.”…

The National Contact Point for Responsible Business Conduct, a U.K. government investment watchdog, … found Bonsucro failed to enforce its guidelines and international trade standards in the Mitr Phol case after Bonsuscro dismissed a second IDI complaint…

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