The engagement with 3rd Commission of National Assembly were facilitated by The NGO Forum on Cambodia to join meeting with Prey Land Working Group (PLWG), Indigenous People and Forestry Networking, and 3rd commission of National Assembly, which meeting held on 31 March 2016.
To begin, H.E Pol Ham, chairman of 3rd commission of the National Assembly warmly welcomed the cooperation between the commission and civil society networks. He also advised members of the commission to facilitate such communication and cooperation.
Cases presented by civil society networks were on the challenges involved in fisheries, forestry, land, Dam, and human rights issues. The first case presented was about the Prey Lang which is cut down drastically. In the forest areas which borders to concessions company was faced by logging and transforms illegal wood into legitimate. The deforestation, mining concession occurred in areas around Chum Anlongsor of Chey Sen district, Phear Vihear province. Water polluted due the forest clearance for roads construction. The reforestation company named Think Bio Tech Co Ltd has permission from government with a total area of 34,000 hectares does not report the full environmental impact, overlapping boundaries area of 7,000 hectares of residential land and forest land.
The second case was about the fishery issues which through the study of FACT organization. There are about 6 million people live in 17 provinces depend on fisheries resources, but these resources are at risk of losing due to lack of law enforcement by local authorities to prevent illegal fishing, and deforestation of flooded forest.
The third case was on the land issues on the investment Companies for sugar production in 4 provinces of Koh Kong, Kampong Speu, Oddar Meanchey, and Preah Vihear. The issue is about lack of proper law enforcement causing impacts on the forest land and community people. Therefore, residents protested to the relevant institutions, nationally and internationally, and the European Union has responded that it will not purchase sugar from the investment firm if not resolve the dispute ended with the community.
Fourth is about the hydropower dam which is the Sesan 2 in Stoeung Treng currently facing of 54 families of Kbalromeas does not accept compensation and refused to dismantle their residential with non-negotiable. 50% of households in the village Srekor not receive compensation with conditions 1) for an ancestral compensation equal two thousand dollars, 2) need to dealing with new married family, and 3) compensation policy is cheaper cost which requested to review more option of increasing. The people accept compensation reported that then new stone house with cracked and wooden house is now affected insects, there is no cleaning water to be used for drinking and bathing in some places and it costly to buy water from other place. The agricultural land offered on the barren land and mountain areas. Villagers proposed new place, but still no respond yet.
Dom Sahong dam construction continues despite the government proposed a study on the impact and consulting but still no solution. Previously, civil society group filing and subsequent statements to the Prime Minister, ASEAN Secretariat, and president of United States during the meetings between ASEAN and the United States.
The fifth case is about the environmental activists is now under the pressures. 03 activists from the Mother of Nature are in prison and the Prey Lang activist is under the abolition and violent. NGOs are at restrictions in conducting meeting and workshop which requires requested letter which is contrary to law.
Finally, key responses of 3rd commission of the National Assembly are:
• 3rd commission confirmed that commission has close monitor and follow up with line Ministry on the mechanism of invite the Minister to report about their work and commission visiting Ministry and project side.
• The Commission has examined the case and was pleased with the cooperation of the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF).
• 3rd commission met with the Minister of Environment not less than 5 times, including filing
• The Dam Sahong case: 3rd commission met with the government of Vietnam and Laos in addressing the impact. Laos will make environmental impact assessment reports and to be release soon.
• 3rd Committee met with Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery and proposed to have a massive campaign to stop the forestry and fisheries issues.
• 3rd commission met with Minister of Water resource and Meteorology to discuss on solutions for sand investment in Koh Kong.
• The 3rd commission has requested to president of National Assembly for visiting Prey Lang but has been delayed
• Some issues are not in the jurisdiction of the 3rd commission, but it is relevant, so the commission will work and find out the way of intervention.