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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Cambodia: Where Do (Human Rights) Law and Practice Meet?
Author(s): Cismas, Ioana
Paramita, Patricia
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Keywords: civil society
food security
livelihood security
right to food
human rights
land rights
large-scale land acquisitions
property rights
transformation of livelihoods
Issue Date: 2015
Date Deposited: 7-Oct-2015
Citation: Cismas I & Paramita P (2015) Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Cambodia: Where Do (Human Rights) Law and Practice Meet?. Revue internationale de politique de développement, 6 (1), pp. 231-248.
Abstract: Being anchored in the broader policy debate on the effectiveness of international human rights standards on the ground, this chapter inquires whether human rights carry any relevance in the Cambodian landscape of contestation of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) and long-term leases. The chapter first establishes that substantive and procedural obligations relevant to LSLAs result from Cambodia's ratification of human rights treaties. It then examines whether and to what extent this normative framework informs the acts and actions of the government in relation to land transactions, and the strategies employed by affected communities. The study relies on legal analysis to unearth tensions between processes set in motion by land laws and shortcomings in their implementation in terms of transparency and participation, accountability and redress, and identification of vulnerable groups. It also draws on desk and field research in a rural and an urban area of Cambodia to examine the mobilisation strategies employed by the two communities affected by LSLA-related forced evictions; the focus is on processes of appropriation and adaptation of human rights by affected local communities, known as ‘vernacularization'. The chapter shows that the rural-urban spatiality, a constructed element, is of relevance in explaining the different configurations of social activism occurring in each setting and these configurations' use of human rights. It finds that, contrary to similarly LSLA-affected rural citizens, urban dwellers made extensive use of human rights language and human rights mechanisms to challenge their forced evictions and also achieved a certain success. Furthermore, the chapter shows that deficient governmental practice, in particular in the area of information and access to justice may play a role in entertaining this divided spatiality, especially by incapacitating the vernacularization of human rights in rural settings.
Rights: This article was published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. It can be accessed and reproduced on paper or digital media, provided that they are strictly used for personal, scientific or educational purposes excluding any commercial exploitation. Reproduction must necessarily mention the authors, the journal name, the author and the document reference. Any other reproduction is strictly forbidden without permission of the publisher, except in cases provided by legislation in force in France.
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