Left With Fish Too Small to Sell in Cambodia’s Mekong River Basin

Thousands have lost their homes and livelihoods since the completion of one of Asia’s widest dams, the Lower Sesan 2, in Cambodia’s Mekong River Basin. Built as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the dam, which spans well over six kilometers, has cut off vital migration routes for native fish species, and displaced numerous Indigenous and ethnic minority communities. Warnings that it would leave fishing communities worse off were ignored. Some of those who refused to resettle were threatened. Birgit Schwarz speaks with Human Rights Watch’s Asia Advocacy Director John Sifton about the devastating effect the dam has had on people’s lives, the Cambodian government’s motives for building it, and the need for Beijing to better protect the rights of those affected by its massive BRI infrastructure projects.

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Birgit Schwarz and John Sifton