From Confrontation to Mediation: Cambodian Farmers Expelled by a Vietnamese Company

TitleFrom Confrontation to Mediation: Cambodian Farmers Expelled by a Vietnamese Company
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBourdier F
Secondary TitleJournal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs
Key themesAccessToJustice, CivilSociety-Donors, Dispossession-grabbing, FDI, MarginalisedPeople

Concessions granted to investors in Cambodia have generated a deep sense of insecurity in rural forested areas. Villagers are not confined to a passive “everyday resistance of the poor,” as mentioned by James Scott, insofar as they frequently engage in frontal strategies for recovering land. Such has been the case in the northeastern provinces, where indigenous livelihoods are recurrently threatened by foreign and national companies. But what happens when a land conflict ends up in a stakeholder dialogue? The article intends to follow such a story that occurred for the first time in Ratanakiri, in a vast territory inhabited by several ethnic groups. After gruelling hostilities with the encroacher, dispossessed farmers finally accepted, encouraged by international/national NGOs, to comply with existing mechanisms associated with international law regulations and World Bank procedures. It ends up in an institutionalised mediation, technical and apolitical, which turned to the disadvantage of the people, with evident power imbalance. Our analysis, while portraying the trajectories of national/international actors involved in the mediation process, reveals the effects on this mediation on local sociopolitical organisations.


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Cambodia, Vietnam

Document Type

Journal Article