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- Regional perspectives on paralegal models for land conflict resolution in Myanmar
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Vietnam Rubber Firm reaches accord with Ratanakkiri ethnic villages
Another milestone has been reached in the long-running negotiations between indigenous communities in north-eastern Cambodia and Vietnamese rubber firm HAGL.
The Phnom Penh Post reported on July 27 that International Finance Corporation’s watchdog mechanism, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), had facilitated mediations between the 11 eleven indigenous communities and HAGL.
The company has agreed to return to the communities approximately 20 “spirit mountains” and make good on its promise to restore damaged water resources and community infrastructure. This builds on an earlier agreement that the communities reached with the company in September 2015, which resulted in an official reduction of the company’s land concessions by more than half and a permanent halt to the further expansion of its plantations into the ancestral lands and forests of the indigenous peoples in the region.
The current mediation and agreement represents another hard-won step forward for the communities in a protracted struggle with HAGL. Implementation of the agreement and obtaining formal legal recognition from the government will be the next challenging steps.
MRLG has contributed to these efforts in two ways: firstly, through a Quick Disbursement Fund (QDF) grant to Equitable Cambodia, completed in August 2015, and through which Equitable Cambodia and partners provided training in negotiations and advocacy skills to the affected villages; and secondly through direct support to the mediation process under the ‘Follow the Money’ Initiative funded under a 2015 Innovation Fund grant to Inclusive Development International and Equitable Cambodia.
You can read the full Joint Statement on the Dispute Resolution Process here.