‘We welcome the suspension but the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Cambodia and AusAID must stop relocations and use this time to fully investigate the problems of resettlement with the project’ said Co-Director of AID/WATCH Liz Barrett.
‘Foreign Minister Carr will be in Cambodia this week and must visit the resettlement sites to hear directly from the people.
‘AusAID and the Asian Development Bank need to ensure people receive real compensation for their losses, not yet another development project’ Ms Barrett added.
AID/WATCH remains concerned that issues raised in their February report on the Cambodian Railways are yet to be addressed, particularly the threats to civil society organizations that campaigned for the resettled.
‘Foreign Minister Carr must reiterate to the Cambodian Government that the suspension should not be an excuse for a further crackdown’.
Ultimately the project by Toll Holdings illustrates the problematic nature of aid projects that depend on the private sector.
‘The suspension of the project by Toll Holdings, ostensibly due to the lack of profitability, illustrates the problematic nature of projects that depend on the private sector. Companies like Toll Holdings have accountability only to their shareholders, not to the communities when they are involved in ‘development projects’, she added.
Aid/Watch regrets the job losses that will result from Toll Royal Railway’s suspension. These workers, most of whom had previously secure employment with the Cambodian Government before being transferred to the concession, need to be offered retraining and alternative career development.
Further information, media contact Matt Hilton 0423106247