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-The GJEP Team
By Kate Hodal, May 13, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Two Vietnamese firms bankrolled by Deutsche Bank and the International Finance Corporation – the World Bank’s private lending arm – are leading a wave of land grabs in Cambodia and Laos, causing widespread evictions, illegal logging and food insecurity, according to a report.
The study, concluding a year-long investigation by the watchdog Global Witness, names two of Vietnam’s biggest companies, the privately owned Huang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and state-owned Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), as the businesses behind the land grabs. It claims they are working with the explicit support of the Cambodian and Laotian governments, who have authorised the land developments.
“We’ve known for some time that corrupt politicians in Cambodia and Laos are orchestrating the land-grabbing crisis that is doing so much damage in the region,” said Megan MacInnes, head of Global Witness’s land team, in a statement. “This report completes the picture by exposing the pivotal role of Vietnam’s rubber barons and their financiers, Deutsche Bank and the IFC.”
Global Witness researched land deals between the two governments and the firms, and found that HAGL and VRG had together been handed more than 200,000 hectares (nearly 500,000 acres) of land, including protected forest with rosewood, in which to grow rubber.