On 21 August 2015, Global Diligence partner, Richard J Rogers, testified before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Sub-Committee on Asia and Pacific.
Rogers was one of six experts who provided evidence at a hearing on ‘Property Rights and Development in South East Asia.’ Five US Congressmen attended the hearing, including Chairman Ed Royce – Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee – and Matt Salmon – Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Asia and Pacific. In his opening remarks, Chairman Royce stated:
“Consider Cambodia, where according to some reports, over half of landholdings are held informally, without any legal title. As the Cambodian economy has developed, many Cambodians have been displaced. Government cronies and domestic and foreign businesses are responsible for seizing land. The government has appropriated land and homes, sometimes forcibly, for agricultural, mining, logging, and tourism.” (Ed Royce, Opening Statement)
Rogers spoke to the issue of land grabbing in Cambodia, as well as the case filed before the International Criminal Court:
“The current Cambodian regime – which celebrated 30 years in power this year – appears to have two very basic and interrelated objectives, which are the maintenance of power at all costs and the self-enrichment of the ruling elite, largely through land grabbing. Unfortunately, to achieve these objectives, the ruling elite has committed human rights violations on a massive scale, often under the guise of development.” (Rogers, Oral Testimony)
Around 600 people attended the hearing, mostly Cambodian Americans.
The Written Statements and video of the hearing are available here.