Mediation resolves land conflict between company and Cambodian communities

In Mondulkiri, SOCFIN-KDC and five indigenous communities from Busra commune will sign an agreement to settle their dispute regarding communal lands affected by the rubber plantation.

Since 2016, MRLG is supporting the Independent Mediation Group (IMG) and NGO Forum on Cambodia to facilitate a process of mediation between a rubber company managing an economic land concession (ELCs), SOCFIN-KCD, and the local indigenous communities in Mondulkiri Province. The mediation is a voluntary collaborative process where the parties in a conflict meet together with the help of an independent mediator in order to discuss the issues, develop options, consider alternatives, and negotiate a consensual agreement or settlement. 

In parallel, the local communities receive legal advice and training from Legal Aid Cambodia to ensure that discussions with the company can take place on an equal footing.

The conflict between SOCFIN-KCD and the local communities from Busra is the result of the allocation of two Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) by the government to SOCFIN-KCD since 2007-08 without acknowledging the rights of the local indigenous communities who were affected in multiple ways by the investment. After years of various attempts to compensate the local villagers and solve their grievances, the company and five communities have agreed to use the mediation to try to sole the remaining issues in a systematic manner. One of the expectations of these communities is that with the conflict resolved, they will be able to apply for the registration of their land under a community land title, and thus secure their land tenure.

Mid 2020 will mark one important step in the mediation with the signing ceremony of an agreement between SOCFIN-KCD and the communities that will settle all claims regarding the recognition of the community rights over remaining communal lands and set the final compensations related to communal lands that have been lost through the development of the plantation. The mediation is continuing in order to find a possible agreement to settle other remaining grievances and issues related to individual lands.  

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