The DDR (Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration) Program and Deforestation in Cambodia since the 2000s

Dr Yoshifumi Azuma1

1School of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, Ibaraki City,  Japan

This paper aims to examine how the 2002 Cambodian DDR (Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration) program, a critical component of transitional justice, addresses acute deforestation in Cambodia. Since 2003, I have carried out the qualitative and quantitative surveys with former Khmer Rouge combatants. In general, demobilized combatants inhabited remote area of Cambodia after the surrender in.  However, the lack of rural employment opportunities, as well as fraud connected with the DDR program forced them to become involved with illegal logging. This presentation consists of two major parts. Firstly, I will explain the development of DDR program since 2002 and present some related empirical data based on interviews. Secondly, I use satellite data and Drone, GIS graphics to visually show the extent to which acute deforestation has occurred due to illegal logging.  All in all, the rapid environmental destruction of a rich natural conservation area has taken place. This is true especially in demobilised combatant resettlement areas, where local authorities are ignoring laws and working with former KR combatants to engage in aggressive illegal logging.  However, it is rather harsh to blame the demobilized combatants alone. As I will argue the highly corrupt DDR program pushed them to cut the expensive first-class timber, and resulted in the huge deforestation.



2018 March-2019 March, Visiting Professor, Royal University of Phnom Penh

2013 April- present, Professor, School of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto

April 2003 Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Ibaraki National University

October 1998-Sep 1999, Visiting Fellow, Demography Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

January 1991- February 1992; January 1989-January 1990; visiting Fellow, Centre for Population and Manpower Studies, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI),

My current research interest consists of three major parts; 1) Area Studies (especially a focus on Southeast Asia, 2) Development and Under-development and 3) Conflict and Peace Building. My particular strength is that my research and practical knowledge of cross boundaries, and this would encourage our students to follow better career paths.
Prior to my university career, I held senior management posts in a number of development organizations, including the United Nations’ Department of Peace Keeping Operations, JICA and other international development aid agencies. In those agencies, I was able to obtain a vast amount of cross-cultural work experience and professionalism.


Japan Society of Southeast Asian Studies, Tokyo
Japan Society of Indonesian Studies (Kapal), Kyoto.
Japan Society of Cambodian Studies, Kyoto


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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