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Cambodia/Thailand: Villagers' court victory a 'watershed moment' for corporate accountability in Southeast Asia

Responding to today’s decision by the Bangkok South Civil Court to grant Class Action Lawsuit status to more than 700 Cambodian families who are suing Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol after being forcibly evicted from their homes in 2008-09, Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, said:

“Today’s ruling is a watershed moment for human rights and corporate accountability in Southeast Asia.

“The decision rightly recognises that national borders must not provide corporations with a free pass to act with impunity, nor should they pose a barrier to anyone seeking justice for alleged human rights abuses.

“After a decade-long battle, the hundreds of affected Cambodian families will finally have their day in court after years of struggle and destitution. A powerful message has been sent to corporate actors across the region that they will be answerable for their conduct.”

Earlier this month, Amnesty submitted a third-party legal intervention to the Bangkok South Civil Court in the case of Smit Tit, Hoy Mai & Others vs. Mitr Phol Co. Ltd.

The briefing sought to assist the court by setting out relevant international legal principles and standards, including Thailand’s obligations in relation to the right to remedy, access to justice, and non-discrimination in the context of transnational corporate abuses of human rights.

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