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Business and Human Rights in ASEAN: The Implications of the Koh Kong Sugar Plantation and Factory Case in Cambodia for Due Diligence and Remedies 

2013-07-09 - CLEC


In Cambodia, forced evictions resulting from large economic land concessions (ELCs) being granted to business enterprises present a major human rights issue. This case study examines an ELC for a sugar plantation and factory in Koh Kong, the most southwestern province of Cambodia, where a well documented forced eviction by state actors and business enterprises occurred in 2006. The case study is representative of the wider situation surrounding ELCs in Cambodia. It illustrates the state's lack of transparency and involvement in violent evictions, business enterprises' failure to implement human rights due diligence, including in their supply chains, and affected communities' difficulties in accessing effective remedies when human rights violations have occurred. In this case, the communities, supported by national and international non-governmental organisations, have pursued national, regional and international remedies. Although the communities' campaign to have the ELCs cancelled and their land returned has not yet been fully successful, they have managed to force Senator Ly Yong Phat, one of Cambodia's richest and powerful men and an interested party in the ELC, to negotiate with them. In the context of Cambodia where access to justice in cases involving powerful political actors presents significant challenges, this is an important victory. However, the relevant business enterprises have yet to comply with the principles of human rights due diligence and there has not yet been an effective remedy to adequately address all the human rights violations suffered by the Koh Kong communities.

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