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IDI, EC, and LICADHO v. Bonsucro

Case overview

Date filed 11 March 2019
Current status Pending
Issue Sugar industry MSI fails to address Cambodian land grabs
Summary of the case
On 11 March 2019, representatives of more than 700 Cambodian families who were violently displaced to make way for a sugar plantation have filed a formal complaint with the UK NCP against Bonsucro, the sugar industry’s sustainability certification body, for breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (Guidelines). The complainants allege that Bonsucro failed to hold a member company, Mitr Phol, accountable after the Thai sugar giant grabbed their land and left them homeless and destitute. Bonsucro is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has operations that span the globe.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the Cambodian families by the U.S. organization Inclusive Development International and the Cambodian organizations Equitable Cambodia and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO).

Complainants assert that families were forced off their land to make way for Mitr Phol’s sugarcane plantations between 2008 and 2009. Those who sought to defend their rights were jailed. The families have endured more than a decade of impoverishment and related hardships as a result of the land seizures. Complainants assert that although the Thai National Human Rights Commission found Mitr Phol responsible for the land grab and called upon the company to "correct and remedy the impacts," Mitr Phol has refused to provide any form of compensation to the Cambodian families.  

Representatives of the evicted families submitted a complaint against Mitr Phol to Bonsucro’s grievance mechanism in 2011. A year later, the Thai company withdrew from Bonsucro rather than address the complaint. In 2015, Bonsucro quietly reinstated Mitr Pohl and never restarted the complaint process. Inclusive Development International, Equitable Cambodia and LICADHO filed another complaint in 2016, which Bonsucro’s board dismissed in December 2018 on the grounds that it had not received “cogent evidence that…Mitr Phol breached the terms of Bonsucro’s Code of Conduct in place at the time.” 
Developments/Outcome The UK NCP issued an intial assessment accepting the complaint on 25 September 25 2019. In its initial assessment, the UK NCP noted that a precise definition of multinational enterprises is not required for the purpose of the Guidelines and that they consider that the Guidelines apply to Bonsucro as a company with member organisations established in more than one country.

The UK NCP will now formally ask the parties whether they are willing to engage in a mediation/conciliation process, with the aim of agreeing how the issues identified can be successfully addressed.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Les expulsions forcées et la réinstallation

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point United Kingdom
NCP address London, United Kingdom
NCP website
Other NCPs involved



Company Information

Company responsible Bonsucro
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations Cambodia
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
25 September 2019 National Contact Point United Kingdom initial assessment The UK NCP issues an initial assessment accepting the complaint. download pdf (200Kb)  
25 September 2019 Inclusive Development International press release IDI issues press release upon the UK NCP's acceptance of the complaint. download pdf (1299Kb)  
11 March 2019 Inclusive Development International file Complaint filed to UK NCP download pdf (308Kb)  

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