CAMBODIA: Rural poor lose out in land deals

Land governance policies in Asia, especially concessions made to private companies, are leaving the region’s poorest vulnerable to human rights abuses, experts say. “Land-grabbing by the rich and powerful continues,” Suson Bunsak, executive secretary of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, said at the recent Asia Land Forum held in the capital, Phnom Penh. “Hundreds of thousands of people are severely affected for the livelihoods because of the land concessions to the companies.” According to International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia, a global alliance working on equitable land access which organized the forum, Asia contains 34 percent of the world’s cultivable land and 15 percent of the world’s remaining forests.