Six years on, families evicted for sugarcane plantation still in limbo

VoA Khmer| 30 October 2015

Six years on, families evicted for sugarcane plantation still in limbo

Some six years after 2,000 families were evicted from their land in northeastern Cambodia, they have still not received compensation and are living with few means, rights workers say.

Eang Vuthy, executive director of Equitable Cambodia, told VOA Khmer Thursday that many have been forced to migrate to Thailand for work, after they were pushed off 19,000 hectares of land that was converted to plantation for sugarcane, which is processed into sugar used by Coca-Cola.

“People that were affected by the forced eviction mostly migrated to work in Thailand as it is close to their place,” Eang Vuthy said. “And some moved to other places.”

Efforts to assess the impacts of the four companies producing the cane and sugar have not been fruitful, Eang Vuthy said, leaving families to fend for themselves.

One of the companies, Thailand’s Mitr Phol, has reportedly hired a Swiss company, IEM, to do an assessment, “but there has been no presence of the Swiss company,” he said. “We only know that there have been a lot of discussions with the governor’s office.”

The families removed from their land have had a difficult time earning money, he said, because most rely on natural resources and agriculture.

However, he said, he remains optimistic. Coca-Cola has policies that prevent rights violations, and meetings at ministerial level with companies may provide a solution.

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