Field visiting affected communities in Koh Kong province who affected by UDG company

Field visiting affected communities in Koh Kong province001

Field visiting affected communities in Koh Kong province001

On 06 July 2016 afternoon: Field visit with local people, first meeting with 22 family representatives from Prek Smach village, Koh Sdac commune, Kirisakor district all of them as have agreed compensation. And the second with 7 family representatives who do not agree the compensation, Based on long discussion with effected family found that result as similar as report investigation produced by NGO Forum.

As the result, the representatives of the government and company agreed with the five points of the communities’ proposal. Regarding the compensation, the government agrees provide them 5000 m2 of residential land and 2 ha of farmland per family, except Mr. Sim Kimsan’s family who get 1ha of residential land and 12 ha of farmland because he had 45 ha of farmland ownership in the old location and he never received any compensation from the company. Moreover, the company also pays them for all kind of house and demolishing fee (ranging price from 350-800 dollars), 30 dollars per a fruit tree (counting from papaya up).  The company is considering the communities’ suggestion for 500 riel per kW of electricity cost for 3 years. Those communities are satisfied the resolution and they understand it is fair and justice compensation because all of their requirement were agreed by the government and company. Therefore, they decided to move to new location located in Konkok area, koh sdach commune, along the main road of the company since 4 June 2016. A community representative, Mr. Sim Kimsan said “My community members and I satisfy the resolution and are very happy to accept these compensations, and we understand that this is fair and justice compensation for our group”.

Field visiting affected communities in Koh Kong province002
At the same time, a community member, Mr. Prum Sun also express his feeling that “ we also deeply thank to all NGOs to support us the community empowerment including legal, rights and advocacy consultation, training course and other advocacy activities such as dialogue, workshop and press conference to produce the outcome”.
However, remained 5 families out of 27 family in Poyjapan did not accept the resolution made by Company and Government and they still live in the same place. Mr. Prak Thorn mentioned that “we don’t move to anywhere because this area is the business location for our livelihood. So, we required the government implement the leopard skin policy following the contract signed by the government and company”. On 21 June 2016, 5 families were invited by company to negotiate regarding to the compensation, but the communities do not agree. And, the company need document from communities to proof. At the end of the meeting, the company representatives promised they will bring the documents and what the communities’ raising as well as suggestion to discuss in a meeting with their director and the government (MoE) to decision made.   
Seeing above resolution, 285 people of the communities living in the new location site have returned to camp in Poy Japan area in front of Koh Sdech Island (old village) on June 08, 2016 to protest and submit their petition to Kirisakor district governor in order to claim the additional compensation, money and farmland from UDG company due to they see those 22 families get compensation more than them. Regarding to this activity was reported that there are many local authorities secretly back support due to they are dissatisfied the resolution process which not allow them to involve.  However, their requirement has not been taken any action for resolution by the competent authorities or the company.
In addition, the NGOs working group had a meeting with the affected communities in the new relocation site of Tanoun commune, Boutomsakor district, Koh Kong province in the morning of June 22, 2016 to update the progressive information. The communities’ livelihood and land dispute are in the same situation, no any action for resolution. For example, their farmland is still threaten by the company and infrastructure, health center, school are not improved yet.  However, the NGO working group investigated that the provincial authorities have continued the process of Systematic Land Registration for only residential land in the new relocation of Tanoun area after student team of order 01 came to community, by ending the step of public information announcement at the communal hall and waiting for land title. Up today, they had submitted their petition letter to the governor of Botumsakor district to cut their farmland or compensation based on the free market price. However, the NGO working group also noted that the weakness of communities is lack of good cooperation with their members, not unit to be one voice and proactive, depending on their representatives for their advocacy activities. To address this issue, the NGO working group provided consultation on advocacy strategy and legal aspect for community empowerment.
In conclusion, the latest solution of the government and company is fair and justice compensation which satisfied by 22 families of affected communities whiles the 5 others was rejected. At the same time, NGO working group observed that both government and company have kept their commitment to continue negotiation with the existing communities for resolution. For instance, the issues and suggestion raised by the 5 families in the meeting on June 21, 2016 will be brought to discuss in the early meeting with the government and company director. However, we still concern about the current process of resolution related to the case due to the meetings were always absent of the local and provincial authorities and NGO representatives as the observers. The infrastructure and communities’ livelihood in the new location site are not improved as well as the government and company promised before the first resettlement.

Field visiting affected communities in Koh Kong province003