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21 Jan 2018

Tomaso Ferrando

Land rights at the time of global production: Leveraging multi-spatiality & 'legal chokeholds'

"Land Rights at the Time of Global Production: Leveraging Multi-Spatiality and 'Legal Chokeholds'," 17 July 2017

...This article utilizes [the struggles for land rights associated to two sugar cane investments] in Cambodia to reinforce the idea that attacks and deprivations of rights that take place on the ground are not only defined by the society and legal frameworks in which the rights-holders operate. On the contrary, commodity chains are such that rights and absence of them are increasingly defined by a dense network of legal and quasi-legal institutions and socio-economic arrangements that operate elsewhere and that are connected through the invisible (or visible) linkages of production, logistics and consumption...

As the case of the [Cambodian] Koh Kong plantations reveals, an effective form of critical legal chains analysis may require more than the identification of the actors that are present on the ground or of the legal structures within which they operate... Human rights scholars may have to look beyond the geography of the enclosure, reverse-engineer the chain of production, identify beneficiaries and relevant legal structures, follow the financial flows, investigate private mechanisms of certification and codes of conduct, interact with UN bodies or other legally irrelevant human rights courts...

[Overall] [h]uman rights scholars and practitioners...should engage with the local nature of violations and redefine their territoriality by embedding them into the complexity of transnational production and consumption. These actions would give visibility to the hidden chokeholds [i.e. legal structures and spaces of intervention that can be leveraged by scholars and activists] and activate dormant legal gateways, but also lead to imagining new legal structures that could be linked, connected, combined and that can curb spaces for non-legal intervention and confrontation... [refers to Koh Kong Plantation, Koh Kong Sugar Industries, Khon Kaen Sugar, and Tate & Lyle]



Note: Koh Kong Sugar's contract can be viewed at openlandcontracts.org