On China’s Landgrabbing in Cambodia

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination & Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the continuing and heightening exploitation and repression by the combined forces of Heng
Fu Sugar Industry Company and the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) against the Indigenous Kuy of Preah Vihear, Cambodia.

Heng Fu and its subsidiaries, Lan Feng, Rui Feng, Heng Nong, Heng Rui, and Heng You, easily obtained 42,000 hectares land concession, which is more than the allowable limit of 10,000 hectares per entity, by circumventing the Land Law of 2001 and of Subdecree No. 146 on Economic Land Concession of 2005. They have been detrimentally operating in Preah Vihear since 2012 when it started clearing lands in preparation for a sugarcane plantation. In 2013, Heng Fu signed an agreement with the Indigenous communities stating that the company would stop plowing rice fields but even then, the company went on clearing forests and plowing over farm huts and rice fields. The community was left with nothing but destroyed land, livelihood, cultural identity, and sacred sites. Children had to drop out of
school because their families could no longer support their education. Until today, there has been no proper free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) process nor impact assessments conducted.

The active investment and involvement of Chinese government and companies in Cambodia is part of their One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative that aims to take a larger role in controlling the political and economic affairs in the Mekong subregion, in general. As an expression of their imperialist domination, they have encroached the lands of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos for building dams along the Mekong River, extractive operations, and plantations projects. These development aggression projects push Indigenous communities and other vulnerable sector to further marginalization.

In response to the increasing human rights violations in Preah Vihear, community villagers and organizations submitted complaints and petitions to the provincial court, to the RGC, to the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, and to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights calling for the immediate cancellation of the concessions. However, these engagements
fell on deaf ears and worse, military forces are being deployed to suppress people’s uprising by assaulting, arresting, making death threats, and doing other forms of harassment against the villagers. Moreover, the company has engaged in bribery with local authorities who tolerates such atrocities.

The unabating attacks to the rights of the people and the ineptitude of the RGC to protect the rights of the people have fueled resistance against exploitation and repression. The villagers held camp-outs and
blockades to denounce and delay the operations of Heng Fu in their communities while asserting their right to land, resources, and territory. It also draws national and international attention and support.

IPMSDL demands accountability from the Royal Government of Cambodia and the government of China as duty-bearers and enablers of these supposed development ventures. Thorough investigation by an independent group should be conducted on all cases of human rights violations committed by the State and company forces against the people of Preah Vihear.

We stand with the people of Preah Vihear in their call for the immediate cancellation of Heng Fu’s sugarcane concessions and just compensation for all the losses and damages. We strongly call for the repeal of the economic land concession and other related policies.

We oppose the OBOR of China and other imperialist interventions that only perpetuate human rights violations, loss of livelihoods, and environmental and cultural degradation.

The current political situation in Cambodia underscores the need to continuously and collectively fight the systemic resource plunder and political repression. The history of Indigenous Peoples resistance relies on our collective strength and struggle. We must bring our peoples movement to new and greater heights to defeat all forms of exploitation and repression by imperialist powers and their local cohorts!







Stand with Cambodian communities vs. Chinese company’s landgrabbing!

We, the undersigned, demand a stop to the massive landgrabbing and destruction of the lands of peasants and indigenous communities in Preah Vihear, Cambodia by Chinese conglomerate Guangdong Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co., Ltd.

Hengfu’s operations directly impact 25 villages inhabited by more than 200,000 people. It has razed local forests and farmland and caused the loss of livelihood, poisoning of waterways, destruction of ancient cultural sites, and irreparable damage to the Kuy people’s indigenous heritage. The operations have been associated with various repressive schemes aimed at restricting locals’ organized activities and resistance and forcefully displacing them. In some cases, this repression has been carried out directly by Chinese workers.

We call on the Kingdom of Cambodia to revoke the economic land concessions (ELCs) given to Hengfu’s subsidiaries – Heng Nong, Heng Rui, Lan Feng, Heng You, and Rui Feng – that are enabling the conversion of almost 40,000 hectares of land owned and used by local and indigenous communities into large-scale plantations for sugarcane for export. We demand that the Cambodian government, together with the provincial authorities of Preah Vihear, hold Hengfu accountable for its violations of domestic and international environmental and human rights guidelines and standards. They should also uphold and protect the interest of the Kuy people in recognition of their inherent rights as indigenous peoples.

We also urge the Government of the People’s Republic of China to remove Hengfu from Cambodia and remove all such exploitative Chinese corporations from Cambodia and the whole Mekong region. China should comply with its international commitments that will serve to protect the environment and uphold human and indigenous people’s rights.

We stand with the local and indigenous communities who are battling Hengfu and China’s landgrabbing, eviction, and destruction of the environment in Cambodia.






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On the Attacks on Indigenous Rights Defenders of Latin America

Scroll down for the Spanish translation / Desplácese hacia abajo para la traducción al Español

Indigenous Peoples Under Fire: Attacks on Indigenous Rights Defenders of Latin America

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the continuing and heightening attacks on Indigenous rights defenders in Latin America. Throughout Latin America and across the globe, imperialist powers and their local cohorts have aggressively been exploiting the ancestral lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples (IP) which undermines and violates their very rights to self-determination and self-determined development. Consequently, those who defend land and Indigenous rights are targeted with constant harassment, intimidation, and prosecution by State apparatus – be it the government, the law, or the military.

Last January 5, Patricia Gualinga of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku received death threats from an unidentified individual while at home with her family in Puyo, Ecuador. The attacker also threw rocks at her house and other physical damage to her property.[i] Patricia and the Kichwa People have actively fought for their lands and livelihoods against Chinese oil extractive projects and the exploitation of the Bobonaza River. The illegal appropriation of ancestral lands without the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples have caused numerous cases of human rights violations.

The recent incident of harassment against Kichwa People is not an isolated case as it is also happening in other Indigenous communities in the continent. In Guatemala, Juan Eduardo Caal Suram of the indigenous Maya-Q’eqchi’ community, is currently on house arrest and facing trumped-up charges of “illicit association” and “unlawful assembly and demonstrations” among others because of his efforts to defend environmental and Indigenous rights.[ii]

A few months before Suram’s arrest, Carlos Maaz Coc, also from the Maya-Q’eqchi’ community, was shot dead while attending a peaceful demonstration calling on Guatemalan authorities to resolve the contamination of Lake Izabal due to Guatemalan Nickel Company’s operations.[iii]

The Indigenous Peoples of Argentina also faced numerous attempts to be dispossessed of their territories last year which led to repression, imprisonment, and deaths of IP.[iv] The Mapuche people have been demanding land rights for decades and received nothing but demonization by the State to delegitimize them as a people. Among the victims of this brutal repression are Rafael Nahuel and Santiago Maldonado. The 22-year-old Nahuel was shot during an operation of security forces against the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance in Villa Mascardi. On the other hand, Maldonado disappeared after he was arrested at a demonstration for the rights of the Mndigenous group in southern Argentina on August 1. Almost 3 months after his disappearance, he was found dead in a river.

Repression of IP are further enabled by inutile and deceptive government agencies. The Government of Argentina has appointed an individual from an NGO as head of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI) which is well known to favor the private sector. The NGO, Cambio Democrático Foundation, held a lot of dialogues with the Mapuche community supposedly to get their consent but in the end, still promoted hydraulic fracturing to increase oil and gas production in Mapuche land, which brings risks of ground and surface water contamination, and air and noise pollution.

Capitalist accumulation sustains political persecution; national economic power and transnational power need the use of force to consolidate and reproduce. Alberto Acosta, Ecuadorian economist, says that, “All extractives, not only mining, are vertical processes that displace, uniform, dominate and colonize. In these visions, there are no collectives or plurinationalities.” Many Indigenous rights defenders, who have been victims of political prosecution and harassment in Latin America, have opposed natural resource exploitation in their territories. We urge governments in Latin America to stop development projects that only promote socio-economic injustices and environmental destruction for the benefit of the ruling elite at the expense of the people. IPMSDL demands justice to all Indigenous martyrs and heroes who selflessly served the interest of Indigenous communities.

IPMSDL calls on the indigenous Peoples’ organizations, communities, and advocates in Latin America to resist and defeat fascist offensives against our people and plunder of our territories. We must strengthen our international solidarity with all the oppressed peoples of the world in our struggle for self-determination and liberation! It has been proven since time immemorial that only through our collective struggle in asserting our Indigenous and democratic rights, victories are ours! ###

Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | info@ipmsdl.org



[i] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/patricia-gualinga-attacked-received-death-threats

[ii] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/juan-eduardo-caal-suram-arbitrarily-detained

[iii] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/carlos-maaz-coc-killed-while-participating-peaceful-demonstration

[iv] https://www.pagina12.com.ar/86366-un-ano-de-represion-y-despojo



Pueblos indígenas bajo fuego: Ataques contra los defensores de los derechos indígenas de América Latina

El Movimiento Internacional de Pueblos Indígenas para la Autodeterminación y la Liberación (siglas en ingles IPMSDL) condena enérgicamente los continuos y crecientes ataques contra los defensores de los derechos indígenas en América Latina. En toda América Latina y en todo el mundo, las potencias imperialistas y sus cohortes locales han estado explotando agresivamente las tierras y territorios ancestrales de los Pueblos Indígenas (PI), que socavan y violan sus propios derechos a la autodeterminación y al desarrollo autodeterminado. En consecuencia, aquellos que defienden la tierra y los derechos indígenas son blanco de hostigamiento, intimidación y persecución constantes por parte del aparato del Estado, ya sea el gobierno, la ley o el ejército.

El pasado 5 de enero, Patricia Gualinga del Pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku recibió amenazas de muerte de un individuo no identificado mientras estaba en casa con su familia en Puyo, Ecuador. El atacante también arrojó piedras a su casa y otros daños físicos a su propiedad. Patricia y el pueblo Kichwa han luchado activamente por sus tierras y sus medios de subsistencia contra los proyectos de extracción de petróleo de China y la explotación del río Bobonaza. La apropiación ilegal de tierras ancestrales sin el consentimiento libre, previo e informado (CLPI) de los pueblos indígenas ha causado numerosos casos de violaciones de derechos humanos.

El reciente incidente de hostigamiento contra el pueblo Kichwa no es un caso aislado, ya que también está sucediendo en otras comunidades indígenas del continente. En Guatemala, Juan Eduardo Caal Suram, de la comunidad indígena Maya-Q’eqchi ‘, se encuentra actualmente bajo arresto domiciliario y enfrenta acusaciones falsas de “asociación ilícita” y “asambleas y manifestaciones ilegales”, entre otros, debido a sus esfuerzos para defender el medio ambiente y derechos indígenas.

Unos meses antes del arresto de Suram, Carlos Maaz Coc, también de la comunidad Maya-Q’eqchi ‘, fue asesinado a tiros mientras asistía a una manifestación pacífica en la que pedía a las autoridades guatemaltecas que resolvieran la contaminación del lago Izabal debido a las operaciones de Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel.

Los Pueblos Indígenas de Argentina también se enfrentaron a numerosos intentos de ser desposeídos de sus territorios el año pasado, lo que llevó a la represión, el encarcelamiento y la muerte de la propiedad intelectual. El pueblo mapuche ha estado exigiendo derechos a la tierra durante décadas y no ha recibido nada más que la demonización por parte del Estado para deslegitimarlos como pueblo. Entre las víctimas de esta brutal represión están Rafael Nahuel y Santiago Maldonado. Nahuel, de 22 años, recibió un disparo durante una operación de las fuerzas de seguridad contra la Resistencia Ancestral Mapuche en Villa Mascardi. Por otro lado, Maldonado desapareció luego de ser arrestado en una manifestación por los derechos del grupo indígena mapuche en el sur de Argentina el 1 de agosto. Casi 3 meses después de su desaparición, fue encontrado muerto en un río.

Los organismos gubernamentales inútiles y engañosos permiten aún más la represión de la propiedad intelectual. El Gobierno de Argentina ha designado a un individuo de una ONG como jefe del Instituto Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas (INAI), que es conocido por favorecer al sector privado. La ONG, Fundación Cambio Democrático, sostuvo una gran cantidad de diálogos con la comunidad mapuche supuestamente para obtener su consentimiento, pero finalmente promovió la fracturación hidráulica para aumentar la producción de petróleo y gas en tierras mapuche, lo que genera riesgos de contaminación de aguas subterráneas y superficiales. y contaminación del aire y el ruido.

La acumulación capitalista sostiene la persecución política; el poder económico nacional y el poder transnacional necesitan el uso de la fuerza para consolidarse y reproducirse.  Alberto Acosta, economista ecuatoriano afirma que, “Todos los extractivismos, no solamente la minería, son procesos verticales, que desplazan, que uniforman, que dominan y colonizan.  En esas visiones no existen los colectivos o las plurinacionalidades”. Muchos defensores de los derechos indígenas, que han sido víctimas de persecución política y hostigamiento en América Latina, se han opuesto a la explotación de los recursos naturales en sus territorios. Instamos a los gobiernos de América Latina a detener los proyectos de desarrollo que solo promueven las injusticias socioeconómicas y la destrucción del medio ambiente en beneficio de la elite gobernante a expensas del pueblo. IPMSDL exige justicia a todos los mártires y héroes indígenas que sirvieron desinteresadamente el interés de las comunidades indígenas.

El IPMSDL hace un llamamiento a las organizaciones, comunidades y defensores de los pueblos indígenas de América Latina para que resistan y derroten las ofensivas fascistas contra nuestro pueblo y el saqueo de nuestros territorios. ¡Debemos fortalecer nuestra solidaridad internacional con todos los pueblos oprimidos del mundo en nuestra lucha por la autodeterminación y la liberación! ¡Desde tiempos inmemoriales se ha demostrado que solo a través de nuestra lucha colectiva para afirmar nuestros derechos indígenas y democráticos, las victorias son nuestras! ###

Referencia: Beverly Longid, Coordinadora Global | info@ipmsdl.org