Australian Bank To Compensate Cambodian Farmers for Lost Land

In a landmark decision for the rights of smallholders, a leading Australian bank has agreed to pay more than 1,000 Cambodian families displaced by a sugar company it granted a loan to in 2011, even though the loan violated the bank’s stated human rights standards.

ANZ Australia will pay the families with interest earned by the $40 million loan to Phnom Penh Sugar (PPS), a company owned by a conglomerate headed by Cambodian lawmaker and tycoon Ly Yong Phat, who is affiliated with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

At the time ANZ granted the loan through its Cambodian joint venture, ANZ Royal Bank, PPS had attracted international media attention following widespread allegations of its use of child labor and clashes with local human rights groups.

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