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!

LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLING INDIGENOUS KUY AND PEOPLES OF CAMBODIA!

RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF IP TO LANDS AND TERRITORIES!

PULL OUT HENGFU AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES FROM PREAH VIHEAR!

STOP THE LAND GRABBING AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN CAMBODIA! JUNK THE ELC!

NO TO OBOR AND IMPERIALIST DOMINATION IN MEKONG!

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