Wuzhisan-Pheapimex plantations, Cambodia

Description

China has been investing in Cambodia since early 2000 and became the biggest investor in 2005. Cambodia has been suffering from land disputes for a long time, but conflicts have increased due to the Chinese Investments. The encroachment case of the joint venture Whuzisan/Pheapimex in Mondulkiri province in particular resulted in the imprisonment of protesting local villagers, preventing them from speaking out. This timber and pulp joint venture has caused a big controversy with the local communities where the company occupied the land for a pine tree plantation whose total area was 20 times greater than the local concession regulation granted. The encroachment was 200,000ha with a 99-year contract and 10,000ha for immediate trial fields.

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Basic Data
NameWuzhisan-Pheapimex plantations, Cambodia
CountryCambodia
ProvincePursat and Mondulikri
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesPine
Cellulose
Project Details and Actors
Project Detailsdifferent agroindustrial purposes (reports of cassave and pine for pulp)
Project Area (in hectares)200,000 and 315,000
Type of PopulationRural
Company Names or State EnterprisesWuzhisan from China
Relevant government actorsState and non-state actors involved; a government official Mr. Ty Kimtok, deputy provincial governor was assigned to play a role as a representative of the company and he has always prevented the local communities from protesting or demanding their land.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLICADHO provincial based, ACE (Acton for Conservation of Environment), CELC ( Centre of Legal Education for community), LAC (Legal Aid in Cambodia), NGO Forum on Cambodia, CHRAC (Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Forms of MobilizationConflicts with guards of the companies over land use Conflict with the guards of the company over clearing farms and plantations of villagers with compensation The affected communities been only organized protesting and prepared petition to the key authorities including Prime Minister. Conflict with companies representative who threatened to arrest and put in jail people in case the affected communities would organize and demand their land and also the community representative was threatened to be charged of incitement. Conflict with company who did not give them their wage (workers). In May 2011, a group of workers that had decided to stop working for Wuzhisan company were blackmailed by the companies representative who tried to keep monthly salary of the workers and force them to continue working for the company, and threatened not to offer them their wage if anyone denied his request. However, this was solved by key authority of the province following intervention from human rights organization provincial based Licadho and Adhoc. Conflict with hydro power dam construction which approximately 100 families would be flooded and may move to the relocation site. And finally, on December 23rd 2011 the company has brought some bulldozers to continue clearing the land located in Kgbal Trach community. This time, about 50ha of farmland and plantations belonging to 24 families were cleared. Approximately 100 villagers gathered and demanded for intervention from Krakor district Governor Mr. Tim Sarin, on December 25, 2011, so the action of the company was temporarily stopped.
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Othercontamination (pesticides)
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseHigh with violence Some people were arrested and put in jail People not allowed to organize for protesting Complaint from community was not considered
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.People have organized to protest several times, including marching, and the submission of petitions to the key authorities from the local level to the national level. But they have not gotten any positive results, only promises.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Involved NGOs have report with legal analysis (Land law 2001, sub-decree 146 on Economic Land concession, UDHR)

References

WRM Bulletin 138/2008, Cambodia: Monoculture plantations bring land conflict, WRM ()
[click to view]

Lang, Chris, Banks, pulp and people: a primer on upcoming international pulp projects, 2007
[click to view]

Santosh Rathi
[click to view]

"Feeding China's Expanding

Demand for Wood Pulp", Jean-Marc Roda &

Links

Vietnam and Cambodia, CIFOR
[click to view]

Cambodia Report : Feeding Chinas Expanding Demand for Wood Pulp
[click to view]

"Cambodia: Eucalyptus plantations and pulp production threaten forests and rivers"
[click to view]

Pulp and plantations development in Thailand,

Meta Information
ContributorWinnie Overbeek
Last update08/04/2014
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