Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

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Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:46 am

Cambodian farmers sue Thai sugar group Mitr Phol over alleged land grab
Reuters Staff
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Farmers from Cambodia have filed a lawsuit in a Thai civil court against Asia’s largest sugar producer, accusing it of rights abuses after it allegedly kicked farmers off their land, a rights group said on Monday.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 3,000 people, is the first class-action lawsuit filed in a Thai court by plaintiffs from another country against a Thai company operating outside Thailand, the group, Inclusive Development International, said in a statement.

The plaintiffs accuse sugar producer Mitr Phol [MIDSMP.UL] of violently displacing them in Cambodia’s northwestern Oddar Meanchey province between 2008 and 2009 to make way for plantations.

“Since Mitr Phol took my land, my family and I have suffered tremendously,” Ma Okchoeurn, one of the affected people, said in a press release issued by the rights group.

“My house was burned down. I was arrested without reason, and as a result my family had nothing to eat and had to collect trash to survive. To this day, I have no land or house.”

Mitr Phol said in a statement emailed to Reuters it had invested in Cambodia in “a good faith partnership” with the government and got temporary concessions in compliance with all local and national laws and with assurances from authorities that “all temporary concession areas had been processed legally and transparently”.

It said it had withdrawn from the project in 2014 due to a combination of factors including political tensions along the Thai-Cambodia border, business risks, adverse agricultural conditions and negative publicity.

Mitr Phol said after it withdrew from the project, it had recommended that the Cambodian government return land “to the affected communities”.

Seng Loth, a spokesman at Land Management Ministry, which was responsible for the government’s involvement in the project, said when contacted by Reuters he was in a meeting and too busy to comment.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-camb ... SKCN1H90P6
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Re: Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:38 am

In ‘historic lawsuit’, Oddar Meanchey villagers take sugar giant Mitr Phol to court in Thailand
3 April 2018
Cambodian villagers have filed a class action suit in Bangkok against Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation for human rights violations after the eviction of hundreds of villagers in Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province, with a US rights group calling the case a “historic lawsuit”.

The sugar firm was awarded three concessions in Oddar Meanchey’s Samraong and Chongkal districts – named Angkor Sugar, Tonle Sugar Cane, and Cane and Sugar Valley – in 2008, measuring around 20,000 hectares. The projects involved forced land evictions and the razing of villages starting from 2009.

The firm eventually gave up the concessions, which were nullified in 2015 and handed back to the government, following complaints filed with the Thai Human Rights Commission and a ban on the company’s imports to Thailand from Cambodia in 2011.

Mitr Phol is one of the largest producers of sugar in the world and counts Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and Mars among its clients.

Two Cambodian plaintiffs from Samraong district filed the lawsuit in the Civil Courts of Bangkok on March 28. It includes a class of around 600 families from the province.

The duo, whose lawyers say have been kept anonymous to the media to protect them, are claiming damages of more than 4 million baht, or around $131,000.

“The facts of this case clearly rise to the level of both negligence as defined by the Cambodian Code and the infringement of statutory provisions intended for the protection of others, resulting in damage, as codified under Thai law,” a brief of the case reads.

The lawsuit additionally alleges that Mitr Phol colluded with Cambodian authorities to violate a slew of local laws, including the Land Law and Forestry Law, as well as international human rights obligations governing both countries.
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/ ... t-thailand
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Re: Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:08 am

Two Thai companies face flak over practices in Cambodia and Myanmar
April 05, 2018 01:00
By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
THE NATION

UN GROUP SAYS HOUSES WERE BURNT DOWN, |FAMILIES DISPLACED FOR LAND APPROPRIATION
THAI OVERSEAS investments in Cambodia and Myanmar have come under criticism for irresponsible business operations and human rights violation, which has also led to the first-ever class-action lawsuit against a Thai company in its home country.

As the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights concluded its visit to Thailand to inspect human rights protection at business operations, it was revealed that the business operations of Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol and a Thai joint venture Energy Earth PCL have allegedly caused adverse impacts on the environment and the livelihood of locals in Cambodia and Myanmar.

The Extraterritorial Obligation Watch Coalition (ETO Watch) reported that more than 600 families in five villages of Oddar Meanchey province in northern Cambodia were displaced from their land and their houses burnt down, allegedly to facilitate the land concession to Mitr Phol’s subsidiary Angkor Sugar Co Ltd since 2008.
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30342484
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Re: Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:05 am

This class-action suit is the culmination of a long struggle by Oddar Meanchey villagers have their demand for compensation recognized. It has been independently documented that these people were forcibly evicted from their land after it was included in a land concession granted by the Cambodian government to Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation. A petition claiming serious human rights abuses connected to land grabs was filed by Cambodian NGOs in 2013.

Previous reports on the subject:
Families Call for Boycott of Senator’s ‘Blood Sugar’
4 July 2012
https://opendevelopmentcambodia.net/new ... ood-sugar/

Cambodian NGOs allege serious abuses linked to Thai sugar giant, Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation
May 31, 2013 - Two Cambodian NGOs, LICADHO and Equitable Cambodia filed a petition on behalf of 602 complainants about serious human rights violations linked to large sugar concessions held by Thai sugar giant, Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation.

The organizations allege that systematic, serious abuses have taken place in the issuance and cultivation of the Thai company’s three enormous economic land concessions (ELCs) for industrial sugarcane production. The concessions are located in the districts of Samrong and Chongkal, in Oddar Meanchey Province, in northwest Cambodia. On the same day, and in the same letter, 70 year concessions were granted to three companies directly linked to Mitr Pohl: (1) Angkor Sugar Co. Ltd., (2) Tonle Sugar Cane Co. Ltd., and (3) Cane and Sugar Valley Co. Ltd.The directors of each of the three companies are all senior figures in Mitr Phol, and the company has admitted they are all part of one venture. Cambodian Senator Ly Yong Phat is also believed to have been involved.
http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/pressre ... p?perm=312

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Re: Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:04 am

June 12, 2019 / 2:13 AM / 2 days ago

Cambodian farmers battle in landmark lawsuit against Thai sugar firm
SAMRAONG, Cambodia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As a young woman living in Cambodia’s northwest Oddar Meanchey province, Hoy Mai witnessed some of the fiercest fighting and atrocities during the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

Two decades on she is preparing for a different and landmark battle, one against Thai sugar company Mitr Phol that she accuses of violently forcing her family off their land and burning their home to make way for plantations.

The lawsuit against Asia’s largest sugar producer, filed on behalf of about 3,000 people, is the first class-action lawsuit filed in a Thai court by plaintiffs from another country against a Thai company operating outside Thailand.

“It was the first time that we got involved with the police, lawyers and a lawsuit. But we had no other choice,” said Hoy Mai, 56, who was arrested in 2009 for protesting the loss of her land and spent eight months in prison.

“We want compensation so we can rebuild our homes and farm our land. We hope the court will give us justice,” she said, adding they were seeking 4 million baht ($128,000) compensation.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-camb ... SKCN1TD00P
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Re: Cambodian farmers file class-action suit in Thailand against sugar producer

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:24 am

Thai court rejects class action against sugar giant Mitr Phol
Cambodian villagers accuse Thailand's biggest sugar company of stealing their land, something the company denies.
by Leonie Kijewski
4 Jul 2019
In a major setback to a group of Cambodian farmers, a Thai court rejected their application on Thursday for their legal case against Thailand's biggest sugar company to be treated as a class action lawsuit, according to the plaintiff's lawyer and a land rights organisation.

Though the Cambodian plaintiffs, representing more than 700 families, say they will appeal, the decision means each family would most likely have to bring individual cases against Mitr Phol, making the legal expenses too high for their low incomes. Class action suits are rare in Thailand.

The plaintiffs, Smen Te and Hoy Mai, took the case against sugar producer Mitr Phol to court last year claiming that their land had been appropriated by the company in 2008. Other dispute settlement mechanisms they tried have failed.

Mitr Phol is Thailand's biggest sugar producer and says it is the world's fifth-biggest sugar company. Last year, it recorded a revenue of 95 billion Thai baht ($3bn) and a profit of $30.5m.

Smen Te and Hoy Mai are among hundreds of families in Oddar Meanchey province in Cambodia's north who claim that Mitr Phol's subsidiary wrongfully took their land. The company returned the land to the government a few years later, but villagers say they have neither received adequate compensation nor their land.

As a direct result of losing their land to the company, the villagers say they lost their incomes and livelihoods, their children could not go to school, and multiple villagers were arrested for protesting against the company.
https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/thai ... 57955.html
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