Cambodia suspends land concessions for companies

The Cambodian government has suspended the granting of land for agricultural development by private companies in a bid to curb evictions and illegal logging.

The government also said it would revoke already issued grants from companies found to be engaging in illegal activities.

Evictions by private companies have displaced tens of thousands of people in Cambodia, and rights groups have been calling for the banning of land grants for a long time. Environmental activists, including the recently deceased Chut Wutty, have campaigned, suggesting Cambodia’s protected areas and wildlife are under threat from development by private companies.

Typically land concessions are large tracts of forested or rural land granted to companies who have permission for clearing the territory to form plantations for crops such as rubber, cassava and sugar cane.

Fauna & Flora International’s Tony Whitten Regional Director of the Asia-Pacific programme, welcomed the announcement, commenting, “Our job is to support those government policies which we believe are wise and contribute to sustainable development. We and many others have been concerned about these concessions and are really pleased the government has taken this radical and important step.”