Thursday, 13 January 2011

Getting Rid of All Those Poor People

When evictions become routine
There's far too much funny money sloshing around the crazy world of finance, greedily seeking high returns and excessive profits now. Are we in the last phases of a centuries-long, ever intensifying global exploitation binge?

Whatever, it's quite clear who are the real misanthropists: the transnational land grabbers taking advantage of poverty, war, corruption, failing governance and inadequate land rights, turning the poor off their land and taking it to grow agribusiness monocultures, often for export.

The BBC radio have at last started to catch up with the trend with their feature today on ‘Crossing Continents’ about stomach-turning events in Cambodia, where “an estimated 15% of the country is now leased to private developers and stories are filtering in from the country's most impoverished farmers who tell of fear, violence and intimidation as private companies team up with armed police to force them from their land.”

They talk with Loun Sovath, a monk from Siem Reap province where peasants have been "victims of a high-profile land grab by rich and powerful people earlier this year [2009] which saw them lose 100 hectares. Some villagers were shot and wounded during a protest at the disputed site. The monk said the police arrested and handcuffed villagers just as the Khmer Rouge had done, then jailed them" according to the Ki-Media blog which reported on villagers' attempts at petitioning the government.

Already between 2006 and 2007 Adhoc, a Cambodian rights watchdog reported that "about 50,000 people throughout the country were evicted for development projects" and the problem just seems to be getting worse, with land in the capital being seized from the poor by a government working hand in glove with private companies to build luxury apartments and shopping malls.

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