Koh Kong's offer of compensation
Koh Kong Sugar, a subsidiary of Thailand's Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Limited (KSL), has made an offer to resolve an ongoing dispute with Cambodian families.
The Cambodia Daily has reported that the offer of compensation comes a day after Coca Cola announced plans to carry out social, environmental and human rights assessments of its major sugar suppliers over the next few years, including those in Thailand.
Koh Kong Sugar has been accused by 200 families of land grabbing in order to create two sugar plantations in Koh Kong province. According to Earthrights International, the dispute started in 2006 when the Cambodian government illegally granted land concessions in Sre Ambel district, Koh Kong province, to KSL for the purpose of sugar cultivation.
KSL's subsidiaries and local authorities expelled the residents of Chikor, Chhuk, and Trapeng Kendal communities from land that they depended on for their livelihoods, and to which they had a legal right under Cambodian law.
Contrary to the families' requests to have their land returned, Koh Kong Sugar has offered money or new land in compensation for the land taken. Mr Kao, a local resident who lost 14.5 hectares to the plantations, commented:
“We want our land. Our living depends on it. If we have no land we will die. If they offer us compensation, we are worried we cannot use it to buy new land, because right now land is very expensive.” He was also worried that new land offered would be far from his home.
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