Something has gone dreadfully wrong with the forced population displacement and involuntary resettlement caused by a large Railways Development project in Cambodia.  Co-financed by the Government of Cambodia, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and by the bilateral Australian Aid Agency (AA), the project is expected to follow international involuntary resettlement standards. A major investigation report of ADB’s Compliance Review Panel finds it is not.  Two important Civil Society Organizations, Inclusive Development International led by David Pred, and Equitable Cambodia led by Eang Vuthy, which brought the complaint on behalf of affected households that triggered the CRP investigation, have conducted extensive monitoring and critical examination of the resettlement process over the past four years.  Their study, DERAILED, published in 2012, warned that the resettlement process was dangerously off-track and in need of course correction before more people were harmed.  The study’s recommendations fell on deaf ears.

Of additional, great interest is INDR Founder and internationally recognized involuntary resettlement specialist Professor Michael Cernea’s report on this project.  Timely, full transparency is a core international standard. In Autumn 2012, ADB, with the agreement of the Government of Cambodia and of the Australian Aid Agency, invited Cernea to carry out an independent assessment of the displacement and resettlement operation under the Railways project. The independent report was submitted to ADB in January 2013. However, the ADB refused to disclose the report to the public or even to the affected people and their NGO representatives who requested its disclosure. As of today, the Report is still kept hidden by ADB and Australia’s Aid Agency, despite countless public requests by many organizations, scholars, development specialists, and by the resettlers themselves for its publication. After more than a full year,  ADB still refuses disclosure and is keeping the report under lock, suppressed and inaccessible to the public. As the Compliance Panel’s Report did become now public, INDR is joining the calls for ADB transparency and accountability, and demands that ADB, as a public institution which is lending Cambodia public money, release to the public Professor Michael Cernea’s independent report as well.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 April 2014)