Soc-fin KCD conflict, Cambodia

Description

In December 2008, hundreds of ethnic Bunong villagers protested against the company who had started clearing the forest and fields close to the village.

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Basic Data
NameSoc-fin KCD conflict, Cambodia
CountryCambodia
ProvinceMondulkiri
SiteVillage of Bousra
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesRubber
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to WRM (2009):

On April 8 2009, it was announced by the daily newspaper Phnom Penh Post that a joint rubber deal had been signed, between “France’s Socfina and the Khaou Chuly Group to create 10,000 hectares rubber plantation and processing facilities in Mondulkiri”. The President of Khaou Chuly declared that “his company was providing 30% of the total capital, with the other 70 percent to be supplied by the French company.”

In fact, the name of Socfina seems to be wrong as everybody on the field talk about Socfin. According to our research, this company is based in Cambodia, directed by Philippe Monnin, a French expert in rubber plantation who worked for years as consultant for the Cambodian ministry of Agriculture on projects of family scale rubber plantations in Kompong Cham province.

On the web (www.socfinal.lu) it appears that Socfin KCD is owned at 60% by Socfinasia, with is held at 53% by Socfinal, a holding based in Luxemburg. Socfinal is a mixed group, which is controlled by Belgian families, amongst them the Fabri, and held at 38% by a French financial and agribusiness group, lead by Bolloré. Questioned on the main shareholders of Socfin in Cambodia, a source gave the names of the French Vincent Bolloré, and the Belgian Hubert Fabri. Two names that come again and again in this galaxy. So Socfin KCD is one of this constellation of companies involved in the rubber plantations in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Congo (RDC), Kenya, Cameroon, Liberia and Indonesia and… Cambodia. A recent article by the French newspaper Le Monde diplomatique informs us about the activities in Africa of the Bolloré group (Port, rail, plantations: le triste bilan de Bolloré au Cameroun, www.monde-diplomatique.fr April 2009).

Socfin KCD is also one of these subsidiary companies of companies founded with cross holdings, a system that allows the shareholders, always the same small group of persons, to save a maximum profit and pay minimum taxes. Of course they are located in tax havens where the profits disappear. A very interesting investigation written by a French journalist, Martine Orange, has been published in February 2009 by the web newspaper Mediapart (the investigation is available at this address: www.mediapart.fr/files/Bollore_iliad.pdf).
Project Area (in hectares)6,978
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationAbout 1000 families
Start Date2007
End Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesKhaou Chuly Development from Cambodia
Socfin from Luxembourg
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNone
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Ethnic Bunong
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Violations of human rights
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Development of AlternativesFIDH therefore urges the Royal Government of Cambodia to:

− Apply an immediate moratorium on all ELCs ; and undertake a contractual compliance review

of all concessions , suspend those found to be operating unlawfully until full compliance with

national and international law;

− Facilitate rapid registration of indigenous communities and ensure effective and good faith

application of interim protection measures when registration as legal entities or collective

titling is not secured; 8 / Cambodia - Land Cleared for Rubber Rights Bulldozed – FIDH

− Ensure adequate and meaningful consultation and participation of communities affected by

ECLs, including to seek the free, prior and informed consent;

− Establish an independent monitoring mechanism on large scale agribusiness to guarantee the

respect for human rights standards and responsible agro-investment (involving civil society

representatives);

− Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of human rights

defenders in Cambodia, including land rights defenders.

FIDH is calling on Socfin-KCD to :

− Suspend all operations of the company until all the current disputes are resolved;

− Implement recommendations of the 2010 ESIA, including measures to protect the traditions

of the Bunong and to ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods;

− Review compensation provided to ensure compliance with international standards, including

compensation for moral damage.

FIDH is also calling on Luxembourg and other European home states involved to:

− Adopt legal and policy measures to ensure private actors legally registered under their

jurisdiction can be held accountable for human rights violations abroad and that victims have

access to effective remedies;

− Require that issuers listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange disclose the social and

environmental impacts of their activities (including those of their subsidiaries). [1]
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The company basically won and was able to continue its operations.
Sources and Materials
References

WRM Bulletin N°142 (May 2009)
[click to view]

Links

[1] Cambodia - Land Cleared for Rubber Rights Bulldozed – FIDH
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJ.-F. Gerber
Last update06/05/2014
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