ASEAN Grassroots Peoples Assembly
A representative from the Philippines spoke on how food security in many communities is really impacted by investment. One of the issues that occurred was farmland being taken by mining companies and poisons from the companies polluted local water sources. Moreover, because of the investment, people in community lost their customs, traditions, and values.
Afterwards, the community came to fight against the companies using non-violence – their voices, their unity, their right to self-determination. And by bring these voices to the government and international community the government showed up and provided a high incentive for investment in a manner that would not impact local communities adversely.
There are similar cases of such investment in Cambodia adversely affecting local communities, too. When people hear about the investment they think of development. However, some investments are not providing development for the country AND the local people. For example, the development in Sombok Jap Community, Bung Kok, Die Krohom, and Borey Kila cannot be called development as violent force was used, illegal evictions and other human rights abuses occurred. This is a problem with the companies investing in developing countries such as Cambodia.
The idea of equitable investment in developing countries, which impacts the people in a good manner. The major representative from the developed countries in the ASEAN bloc, Thailand, has come to represent the possible development for famers. Thailand is the world’s leading rice exporter. Famers benefit from government policies, but they also face some problem such as a lack of consumers information, no mechanisms to monitor famer company relations, and no law to regulate contract faming.
The resulting discussion generated a lot of comments related to the companies, which received licenses from the government for land concessions. Many work against the local people. It was mentioned that the government must control this situation and keep track of the companies, to ensure that they operate in an equitable manner. The government should allow the people in community to invest in their own land, was another idea put forward.
– Khim Vathanea