Thai NHRC said Thai Sugar Company Abuses Human Rights

Key Issues: 

(Translated version)

National Human Rights Commission of Thailand defamation on Wednesday that two biggest companies from Thailand received concession from the government for the sugarcane plantation in Koh Kong Province and involved serious human rights violations.

Speaking at a press conference held in the Meta House – National Human Rights, an institution Rights independence established by the Constitution of Thailand, said the company missile portfolio (Mitr Phol Suger Cooperation) get concessions nearly 20 thousand hectares in 2008 for planting sugarcane in the Provinces. But there are many complaints from people affected by the investment.

In total, around 600 families and growing area of more than 1 thousand hectares were affected by the clearing for sugarcane plantation. Khon Kaen Suger Industry Public Company Limited, which has invested in Cambodia Ambel district, KohKong province for cane, was also found to be involved in human rights abuses.

More than 200 families have lost their lands and homes due to the expansion of the company's land. Most villagers did not receive proper compensation.

Thailand's National Human Rights Commission said the company failed to comply with the laws and regulations of the country.  Mitr Phol Suger Cooperation is the parent company of 3 companies namely Angkor Sugar Company, Tonle Sugar Cane Company and Cane Suger Valley Company cane plantation in the Oddar Mean Chey Province.

Speaking at a press conference held in the in Phnom Penh, Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara, chairman of Sub-committee of National Human Rights Commision Thailand, said the evaluation was made ​​after a recent investigation by the Thai National Committee Rights.

The commission has been investigating Thai companies in Koh Kong for more than 2 years.

Dr Niran said the Commission will compile a report of human rights violations to be submitted to the Government of Thailand, the United Nations and the European Community in Thailand.

Because Thailand is a signatory of the ASEAN's principle of respect for human rights, it is important for businesses to comply with human rights principles.

Huy Mai, one of the villagers who have suffered in the dispute with the Thai sugarcane company (Mitr Phol) in the Province, said that in 2008 the company was clearing and burning lands, leaving many people homeless.

She said: 'When people protest, I filed a complaint to the provincial authorities that the authorities that bambat_phostotang no deal for citizens. I fear if someone dared to file a complaint where there is judicial auction arrested.

Mr Teng Koav, a Representatives from Ambel district, said the Thai company started burning and clearing shelters of the people in his community since 2006.

And citizen groups have sought intervention from provincial authorities to the city but no solution has been provided.

"I would suggest to the government because the government granted land to companies for industrial investment. It aims to promote growth but these land concessions are increasingly devastating our citizens," said Mr Teng Koav.

Yeng Virak, executive director of the Community Legal Education Center, expressed optimism that the report of the Thai National Human Rights Commission, which will be issued in the future will help to put more pressure on companies to comply with human rights principles.

VOA Voice of America requested comment from Meanchey provincial authorities and representatives of both companies but have not received any response as of Wednesday evening.

According to a report published online, EU's sugar import from Cambodia has increased from $51,000 in 2009 to over $13.9 billion in 2011.