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23 Jan 2014

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

Phnom Penh Sugar responds to questions [Cambodia]

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…The allegations are not accurate and have greatly oversimplified the actual process. The land in question was hardly developed and without an apparent community before we have obtained the rights for the plantation…When the protests got feistier and violent, our properties were practically burnt down to the ground. That was when a security unit was called in, not by us but the local provincial authority…Fingerprints of the local folks, upon receiving the compensations, prove that they are satisfied with the arrangements…It is too much of a fantasy to figure that people needed to be fed, or they would starve to death. It may be true in certain parts of Africa but not in Cambodia…Any direct application of child labour, previously put in force by the families themselves, is strictly prohibited and stopped. However, we can't transform long tradition of families tagging along their under-age children…

Part of the following timelines

Cambodia: ANZ reportedly financing Phnom Penh Sugar, a company beset by allegations of child labour & forced evictions

Cambodia: NGOs urge ANZ to "stay engaged until proper remedies are provided to the victims" instead of simply pulling out of sugar project linked to serious abuses

ANZ seeks 100% control of Cambodia operations months after allegations surfaced that ANZ Royal helped finance a sugar refinery linked to forced evictions