Hoy Mai is the lead plaintiff in Hoy Mai & Others vs. Mitr Phol Co. Ltd.
Hundreds of Cambodian families who were violently displaced by the Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol have been struggling for justice for over a decade. They recently had what some might consider their first day in court—a chance to begin submitting evidence against the company, which is a supplier to global brands such as Nestlé, Mars and Coca-Cola.
The arrival of the first evidentiary hearing in Hoy Mai & Others vs. Mitr Phol Co. Ltd., marks an important milestone for one of Inclusive Development International’s longest-running campaigns. While there have been several initial procedural hearings, last week marks a new stage in the litigation, during which plaintiffs will submit evidence relating to the substance of their claims—evidence of Mitr Phol’s responsibility for the life-changing loss of land and livelihoods that they experienced and continue to experience as a result of the forced evictions.
The stakes in this class action suit, representing approximately 3,000 people, are high—not only for the communities seeking redress, but for corporate accountability globally. As the first transnational human rights class action lawsuit to proceed in a Southeast Asian court, it has the potential to set an important precedent. If the plaintiffs prevail, it will signal to parent companies located in Southeast Asia that they can be held accountable in their home countries for abuses they commit abroad—that they cannot hide behind the lax legal systems of host countries in the region.
In-depth media coverage of the evidentiary hearing is available here and more details about the case are available in our case brief here.