A Vietnamese conglomerate funded by investment banks with links to the private-sector arm of the World Bank has been accused by activists of bulldozing land in Cambodia that had been earmarked for return to indigenous communities.
A part of the 742-hectare land in the northern province of Ratanakiri was reportedly cleared in March – as Cambodians were told to shelter in place amid the coronavirus pandemic – by Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL), which is owned by a wealthy businessman with interests in property, agriculture, energy and a Vietnamese football club.
“The company bulldozed two spirit mountains, wetlands, traditional hunting areas and burial grounds,” said human rights groups Equitable Cambodia and Inclusive Development International (IDI) in a joint statement released on Monday. “[It] destroyed old-growth forest and caused irreparable harm to land of priceless spiritual value to the communities.”
© 2020, All rights reserved.