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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Cambodge-Laos : dans les griffes de Dragon Capital Group Ltd

by Damien Roustel

Cambodia-Laos: in the claws of Dragon Capital Group Ltd

Translated Monday 15 June 2015, by Adrian Jordan

Dragon Capital Group Ltd (DCGL) is a Vietnamese investment group chosen by the World Bank to be “an example to be emulated by Vietnamese companies”. Since 2002, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested 26.95 million dollars in DCGL and one of its funds, Vietnam Enterprise Investments Ltd (VEIL). DCG-VEIL holds six percent of shares in Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL), one of Vietnam’s biggest companies. Through an intermediary and several subsidiaries, wholly or partially owned by them, HAGL holds land concessions of 50,000 hectares of land in Cambodia and Laos, used for rubber tree, sugarcane and oil palm plantations.

“HAGL’s concessions in Cambodia and Laos overlap considerably with land legally claimed and depended upon by local communities, including the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples”, cite Oxfam. HAGL’s plantation developments have affected almost twenty villages (15,000 people) in the Cambodian province of Ratanakiri and also the Attapeu and Xelong provinces in Laos. Oxfam reproach: “The loss of land, forests and the pollution of streams by chemicals used in HAGL’s plantations have drastically reduced the ability of local residents to farm, hunt, fish and tap their resin.”

In February 2014, the Cambodian communities filed a complaint with the IFC’s watchdog, the Compliance Adviser/Ombudsman. “Nowadays, we are surrounded by companies. They have taken our community lands and forests. Soon we fear there will be no more land left for us at all and we will lose our identity. Does the World Bank think this is development?”, questions one of the complainants. Since the request, an initial meeting was organised at the start of the year between HAGL and the villagers, tasked with trying to formally resolve the conflict. But in Laos, nothing seems to happen.

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