By Ratha Visal
Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia, June 17, 2016
About 30 Community Mining Focal People (CMFP) from Mondolkiri, Ratanakiri and Preah Vihear provinces in Cambodia gathered on June 14 in Banlung town, Ratanakiri to present and share their advocacy plans and updates about impacts of mining on local people.
Ms. Vong Socheat, a CMFP from Mondolkiri province said that one mining company has a license to mine and the company forced villagers to give farmlands to them because the farmlands are in the exploration or exploitation area of the company. She also said that local authorities have not paid attention to those issues, but they have forced local people to leave their farmlands as it belongs to the company.
In December 2015, Cambodian NGO Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) organized a training for 30 CMFPs in Ratanakiri province to equip them with know-how on preparing monitoring plans and understanding investment projects of companies. DPA also trained local villagers about conducting advocacy.
A CMFP from Ratanakiri province, Mr. Sou Sopart said that local authorities do not support the communities to advocate in order to prevent the impacts on the communities – this is one of main challenges for CMFPs. Local people have limited knowledge and don’t dare to participate in the advocacy work because they are afraid of the local authorities. He also said that communities have the right to get information about the development projects in their villages. But local authorities often claim the power for themselves.
Regarding the mining investment companies, Mr. Lay Sotheara, a Programme Director of Justice Right of Community Legal Education Center said that mining investments always have impacts on local communities, especially on their livelihood and local traditional culture.
A Spokesman and Secretary of States of Ministry of Mine and Energy, H.E Meng Saktheara said that mechanisms to educate or raise awareness of local people about the advantages of the mining sector is an important factor that companies should consider. They should collaborate with local people based on principles of transparency and justice.
Summary translated by The Mekong Eye.
Lead photo: Mining activists in three provinces (Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri and Preah Vihear) gather to discuss experiences and planning concerning impacts of mining on local communities, June 14, 2016.