News / Economy

ADB Slams Cambodia Railway's Resettlement Plan

A woman cooks rice by a railway track in Phnom Penh, March 19, 2013.
A woman cooks rice by a railway track in Phnom Penh, March 19, 2013.
Robert Carmichael
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday released a damning internal review of the much-criticized resettlement program that's related to the rehabilitation of Cambodia’s railway network
 
The 180-page report by the ADB’s internal review body found that years of wholesale failure by ADB staff when planning and implementing the resettlement program had caused “direct, adverse and material harm” to thousands of people.
 
The report says the ADB’s staff must “undergo a mind shift” in their approach to future resettlement projects, and they call on the bank to provide compensation for the damage done.
 
In recent years, an estimated 4,000 Cambodian families, most of whom are very poor, were forcibly moved to make way for the railway upgrade. Under the bank’s own rules, none of them should have ended up worse off.
 
But Friday’s report makes clear that the ADB’s failure to comply with its own rules on resettlement means that many, and perhaps most, are in fact worse off.
 
“It’s the most damning report in the history of [the] ADB’s accountability mechanism," said David Pred, who heads a nonprofit called Inclusive Development International, and has advocated for those affected by the railway project. "It’s findings are really scathing, and what it calls for isn’t just bringing this project back into compliance - well it was never in compliance in the first place - but a mind shift is what they call for at ADB in the way they treat people affected by their projects, and the way they approach social and environmental safeguards.”
 
The railway rehabilitation program was agreed upon between the ADB and the Cambodian government in 2006. After years of civil war, the railway was rundown and in poor shape. The country, by then at peace, wanted to restore it. The $142 million project funded the repair and replacement of hundreds of kilometers of track across the country.
 
But from the start, the ADB report states, the entire resettlement element was deeply flawed. Although the Cambodian government was in charge of resettlement, the ADB’s job was to ensure that process was done properly. The bank admits it failed to do so.
 
Among the long list of errors contained in the report is the assertion that many households received far less than their existing homes were worth, causing them to fall deeply indebt.
 
Also, payments were not linked to inflation which meant people who were moved in 2010, for example, received compensation at 2006 prices.
 
The report also criticizes the lack of services at resettlement sites,  a situation that rights groups say led directly to the deaths of three children from resettled families.
 
In emailed comments Friday, the ADB said that it would consult with the various parties involved over the next two months, including the affected families and the government, before working out a plan of action.
 
Pred says the report should be the start and not the end of the process. He wants ADB staff held accountable for failings that have damaged thousands of Cambodia’s poorest people.
 
“I mean it’s frankly an outrage that so many lives have been destroyed by this project," Pred said. "Lives have been lost. There are three children who died because of ADB’s gross negligence and, as far as we can tell, not a single staff member of ADB has paid a price for that.”
 
Asked whether the bank would sanction any of its employees or contractors in light of the report’s findings, ADB country director Eric Sidgwick told VOA that he would not comment publicly on staffing issues.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kim Chivansuy from: Long Beach
February 07, 2014 1:05 PM
The poor and uneducated people are always the victims of the rich and the corrupt Cambodian government. Thanks to those people who step up to help them out. This is not an job for you.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Cambodian government must responsible for their wrong action. These poor people are human being and they have feeling just like each one of us do. All living things on this planet earth should be protected, including animal and forest for everyone to enjoy for millions more years to come.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8893
JPY
USD
118.31
GBP
USD
0.6660
CAD
USD
1.2459
INR
USD
61.427

Rates may not be current.