Every year, millions of people around the world are forcibly displaced from their lands, homes and livelihoods to make way for large-scale development projects. Most often those who are forced to sacrifice their place on earth for both public and private interests are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. They are thus the least equipped to cope with the challenges of physical, economic and social displacement and are as a result thrust into even deeper poverty and social exclusion. In the past two decades, development institutions that finance many of these proj-ects, and many developing country governments, have stepped up their efforts to mitigate the risks of harmful impacts of development projects on displaced populations through safeguard policies, legal and regulatory frameworks and insti-tutional capacity building to ensure better resettlement practices. Despite these efforts, however, the worldwide resettle-ment record remains a shameful one of insufficient financing, poor planning and inadequate implementation, and so these projects generally end up turning into what Oliver-Smith aptly describes as “development disasters.”i As Michael Cernea, the author of the World Bank’s first involuntary resettlement policy, summed up: “The outcomes of most development-caused forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) leave a disgracing stain on development itself, conflicting with its poverty reduction rationale, objective and ethic.”

A Study on the Resettlement Process and Impacts of the Rehabilitation of the Cambodian Railway

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  • Jocelyn Medallo

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Date: 2012

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Every year, millions of people around the world are forcibly displaced from their lands, homes and livelihoods to make way for large-scale development projects. Most often those who are forced to sacrifice their place on earth for both public and private interests are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. They are thus the least equipped to cope with the challenges of physical, economic and social displacement and are as a result thrust into even deeper poverty and social exclusion. In the past two decades, development institutions that finance many of these proj-ects, and many developing country governments, have stepped up their efforts to mitigate the risks of harmful impacts of development projects on displaced populations through safeguard policies, legal and regulatory frameworks and insti-tutional capacity building to ensure better resettlement practices. Despite these efforts, however, the worldwide resettle-ment record remains a shameful one of insufficient financing, poor planning and inadequate implementation, and so these projects generally end up turning into what Oliver-Smith aptly describes as “development disasters.”i As Michael Cernea, the author of the World Bank’s first involuntary resettlement policy, summed up: “The outcomes of most development-caused forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) leave a disgracing stain on development itself, conflicting with its poverty reduction rationale, objective and ethic.”

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