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Indigenous peoples land for rubber plantations, Cambodia


In the North-Eastern province Ratanakiri, the government has allocated land (mainly primary rainforest) to Vietnamese investors to develop rubber plantations. The area is home to Cambodias indigenous people (IP) who depend on the forest for their livelihood. In many villages the demarcation of the future plantation area covers IPs land. In most of the cases, they have not been consulted nor informed. In some villages, clearing of IPs farmland and forest has started. Multiple forms of resistance has so far been undertaken, some of which has resulted in a temporary stop of the clearing activities.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Indigenous peoples land for rubber plantations, Cambodia
State or province:Ratanakiri
Location of conflict:near Banlung
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Rubber
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Clearing of indigenous peoples land is currently going on and the area cannot be estimated at the moment.

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Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Krong Buk from Vietnam
C.R.D. from Vietnam
Heng Brother from Vietnam
Hong An Ou Ya Dav from Vietnam
Makara Paris
Veasna Investment
Cheang Ly from Vietnam
Relevant government actors:Provincial Governor of Ratanakiri, District Chiefs of Ta Veng and Andong Meas District
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:LICADHO, German Agro Action
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), 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
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Other Health impactsIncrease in stress due to the invasion of outsiders and the resulting loss of a feeling of security, especially for women who now fear to go to the forest alone (as previously done)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Some mobilisers argue in favour of communal land titling for indigenous people. However, this procedure takes a long time and is obstructed by local governmental agencies.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:In some villages, indigenous people confiscated keys of bulldozers that cleared their land. This has stopped the activities temporarily. No ultimate political solution has been found.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Land Law provides that indigenous people have the right to their land; but this is not applied

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Full report on the case:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Andrea B.
Last update08/04/2014
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