Cambodian indigenous communities regain sacred land from rubber developer

17 Apr 2019

Photo credit: Bent rubber trees on the road out of Ratanakiri, Cambodia (Under Creative Commons license), by Santo Chino

Twenty “spirit” mountains and dozens of other spiritually significant areas that had been taken by Vietnamese agribusiness giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) will be returned to 12 indigenous communities in Cambodia, the government has pledged.

That is a major victory for those communities in Cambodia’s northeastern province of Ratanakiri, which have been embroiled in a decade-long land conflict with HAGL since their ancestral lands were granted to the company to develop large-scale rubber plantations, according to a report on the website of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG).

Some 64 disputed areas, including spirit mountains, wetlands, traditional hunting areas and burial grounds will be returned “for the indigenous people to practice their beliefs, cultural traditions and to support their livelihoods,” the government said.

This followed a dispute resolution process convened by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), the independent watchdog of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, after the communities filed a complaint in 2014.

Read the full article on the IPMG website by clicking here.

Learn more about this topic at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, 22-23 June 2019.

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