Large-scale land acquisitions in rural Cambodia
The case of Samot Leu Village in Lumphat District, Ratanakiri ProvinceBerlin Geographical Papers
The mechanism of granting Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) to (inter-)national investors for agro-industrial exploitation was the starting point of a wave of large-scale land acquisitions in Cambodia since the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) issued a respective directive in 2005.
While ELCs are supposed to combine overall economic benefits on the one hand with poverty reduction and the compliance with environmental standards on the other hand, it turned out that there is a wide gap between the legal framework, which is supposed to govern the granting of ELCs, and its actual implementation on the ground. Eventually, the granting of ELCs led to severe human rights violations and several land conflicts, involving the local population, investor companies, political and economic elites as well as authorities. This situation is especially difficult for the Indigenous Peoples of Cambodia, who not just struggle to claim rights to their lands, but for whom land is also an essential component of livelihood.
Drawing on a literature review and the results of a two-month field study, this thesis aims at shedding light at the relationship between different actors of society and land as a resource in the context of asymmetrical power constellations within the land conflict of Samot Leu Village in Seda Commune, Lumphat District, Ratanakiri Province.