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Thai NGO supports Cambodian farmers over compensation

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:

A group of Thai and International NGOs said yesterday that they supported Cambodian communities filing a lawsuit against sugar giant Mitr Phol seeking compensation and remedies over alleged human rights violations.

In its statement released yesterday, the Extraterritorial Obligation Watch Coalition, a group of Thai and International NGOs working to stop human rights violations, said that Cambodian farmers suffering from human rights violations by the Mitrphol Group have sought remedies and compensation in Thailand.

The alleged human rights abuses stem from land grabs and forced evictions on sugar plantations in Oddar Meanchey province in 2014, it said.

“Today, the impacted communities took Mitrphol to Thai court for remedies and justice. This is the first ever class-action lawsuit filed in Thai courts by complainants from another country,” it said.

In 2014, a complaint form 600 Cambodian families who lost their lands due to sugar plantation concessions was filed to the National Human Rights Commission Thailand. The NHRCT issued an official investigating report and demanded Mitrphol to provide compensation and engage the affected communities in remediation, it said.

It said that the suit demands compensation from Mitrphol, as the farmers claimed their homes were burnt down and their lands were taken.

“We demand Mitrphol to seek consultation with the impacted community immediately and set up a mechanism to discuss remediation and compensation with the directly affected communities,” the statement added.

Last month, a group of 20 people representing 554 families locked in a 10-year land dispute in Oddar Meanchey province submitted a petition, asking the government to end the conflict.

The concessions were cancelled two years ago and the land was given back to the Agriculture Ministry, according to a letter from the Council of Ministers dated March 13, 2015.

Sar Thavy, governor of Oddar Meanchey province, said the land dispute with Mitr Phol has been solved.

“The issue was finished and the company has already returned the land to the government,” Mr Thavy said.

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