Trapaing Chour Commune, Kompong Speu – Until a decade ago, the indigenous minority Suoy villagers in Trapaing Chour Commune eked out a living by working their paddies and practicing rotational farming in the forests among the foothills of Phnom Aural, Cambodia’s highest mountain.
The Suoy relied on ancestral community land that the government reserved for them within Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Kampong Speu Province’s Aural District in southwestern Cambodia.
In 2009, however, the estimated 1,300-member Suoy community – the last of its kind in the country – was dealt a sudden blow when the government granted HLH Agriculture Company Ltd. a 10,000-hectare economic land concession that covered swathes of the sanctuary and, according to villagers, some 2,000 hectares of community land.
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