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Land Activists Return From European Lobbying


In this photo taken on Friday, May 4, 2012, Cambodian protesters from Boueng Kak lake march with a banner displaying the thumb prints of fellow land owners who have been evicted from their homes, as they demand compensation, in Phnom Penh, file photo.

In this photo taken on Friday, May 4, 2012, Cambodian protesters from Boueng Kak lake march with a banner displaying the thumb prints of fellow land owners who have been evicted from their homes, as they demand compensation, in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Two land rights activists have returned from Europe, where they asked for the EU Trade Commission’s help in solving Cambodia’s ongoing land disputes.

WASHINGTON DC - Two land rights activists have returned from Europe, where they asked for the EU Trade Commission’s help in solving Cambodia’s ongoing land disputes.

Eang Vuthy, of Equitable Cambodia, and Heng Mom, an evictee of the Boeung Kak development site, traveled to Berlin and Brussels, where they outlined the problems that economic developments have brought to everyday Cambodians.

Germany is a major donor to Cambodia, Eang Vuthy said. “And donors must work with the Cambodian government to prevent land-grab issues.”

Heng Mom said she delivered a message to the EU and the government of Germany, describing rights violations, forced evictions and the arrests of prominent housing activists.

“We all have been protesting for five years, but there has been no solution,” she said. The hope is that housing rights will become more prominent in discussions about aid distribution, she said.

Eang Vuthy said he asked the EU Trade Commission to investigate the impact of sugar plantations in three provinces on the human rights of villagers there. Cambodian sugar exports received preferential export status in Europe.

“The EU parliament and the EU have to be responsible with their policies,” he said. “These companies must be held responsible, because all these products are from land grabs from local people.”

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