Regional experience in advocating forest land for ethnic minority people
- HAGL signed an restitution agreement with the ethnic minority people in Ratanakkiri
With facilitation of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), eleven indigenous communities in Ratanakkiri province, Cambodia and Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Co (HAGL) have signed a joint statement, in which HAGL agreed to return part of rubber development project areas on approximately 20 sacred mountains, while committing to restoring the damaged water sources and community infrastructure.
Illustrated image, source: http://hagl.com.vn/rubber_posts/detailpost/201012181647454745
This is a remarkable achievement of a long-term campaign to protect the legitimate rights of the community with the advice and support of international and local development organizations in Cambodia. It is noteworthy that by 2014, more than 2,000 households filed a complaint reflecting the loss of land and the impact of the rubber project to IFC (International Finance Corporation, which provided a partial capital to the HAGL rubber plantation project). IFC and HAGL then organized four meetings with affected communities to find solutions to the problem. More information can be found in the Phnom Penh Post article here, and details of the joint statement between the communities and HAGL is on the CAO website here.
In the coming time, communities and the supporting organizations will continue to monitor the implementation of the above commitments and lobby local authorities to formally recognize the land use rights and resources of the communities who have been affected by large-scale industrial land acquisition projects.