In Cambodia today, hundreds of thousands of people are being displaced from their homes, farmlands, forests and fisheries as investors plunder the country for private profit in the name of ‘development’. In rural areas, more than 2 million hectares have been granted to private companies as concessions for the development of agro-industrial plantations.
The sugarcane industry has been one of the worst offenders driving this land-grabbing crisis. At least 75,000 hectares in economic land concessions have been granted to private companies for industrial sugarcane production in recent years. These concessions have led to the destruction of protected forests, the pollution of water sources, and the forced displacement and dispossession of thousands of people in Koh Kong, Kampong Speu, Oddar Meanchey and Svay Rieng provinces.
Crops have been razed. Animals have been shot. Homes have been burned to the ground. Thousands of people have been left destitute. Some have been thrown in jail for daring to protest.
Despite the abundant evidence of these crimes, none of the responsible individuals and companies have been held to account.
Meanwhile, the sugar that is tainted by gross human rights abuses is exported to Europe, where suppliers and importers receive special trade benefits under the Everything But Arms initiative.
For the past two years, we have called upon the companies that are producing and selling this sugar to provide restitution to those who have lost their land, homes and livelihoods to make way for their plantations. We have sent letters and filed complaints against Ly Yong Phat, Mitr Pohl, KSL, Ve Wong Group, Tate and Lyle Sugars and its parent company American Sugar Refining (owner of the Domino Sugar brand in the United States). These companies have all failed to respond and take action to repair the harm that their business has caused to so many Cambodian families.
So, today we are calling upon consumers around the world to stop buying their products. In particular, we urge consumers to boycott Tate and Lyle and Domino Sugar.
To kick off this campaign, leaders of affected communities and Clean Sugar Campaigners launched a powerful online video at a press conference today in Phnom Penh.
Click here to watch the video or search for Taste and Smile? on YouTube.
Watch it. Share it. Take action.
Sign the petition and let Tate and Lyle Sugars and Domino know you will stop buying their products until they pay back the Cambodian farmers who lost everything so that they can make a profit.