Monday, April 12, 2010

NGOs call for crackdown on illegal logging to be widened

Monday, 12 April 2010
Chhay Channyda and Tep Nimol
The Phnom Penh Post

A COALITION of local human rights NGOs have applauded the removal of the Forestry Administration’s director as part of a recent crackdown on illegal logging, but have called on the government to take additional action to ensure the full eradication of forestry crimes.

At a press conference Friday, Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said the firing of Ty Sokun was an example to powerful officials who are profiting from the illicit trade in timber.

“It is a warning for the next person that if they fail to crack down on the crime they will be jailed,” he said, but added that from here on out there will be no excuses if the law is not implemented.

“Hun Sen has paved the way for the next person to enforce the crackdown effectively. There are no more difficult people you can’t take action against – if you can’t do it, it means that you are incapable,” he said.

Since a request from the prime minister in January, authorities have raided over a hundred warehouses suspected of holding illegal timber.

Despite the strong government measures, however, some villagers are concerned that trees are being felled illegally despite the crackdown on timber sales.

Seng Sok Heng, a representative from Oddar Meanchey province, said his community’s reports of logging were generally ignored.

“We still see that in the forest, the cutting down of trees is still continuing,” he said. “We want the authorities to go to the forest and investigate.”

He added: “Some of our villagers have been threatened when we try to protect the forest.”

Last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Ty Sokun had been removed from his post at the Forestry Administration for his failure to accelerate the crackdown on forestry crimes.

Ty Sokun has since been appointed to the position of undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Agriculture, and Hun Sen has said the new forestry chief, Chheng Kim Son, should arrest anyone who breaks the country’s Forestry Law.

On Wednesday, international anti-graft watchdog Global Witness cheered the move, but said that Ty Sokun should be charged for his alleged connection to illegal logging, detailed by the group in its 2007 report Cambodia’s Family Trees.

“It is a good thing he is gone, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook for what happened while he was in charge,” Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director, said in a statement Wednesday.

The statement added that the Cambodian government “has a lot more to do if it wants to prove it is serious about protecting the country’s remaining forests and managing its other natural resources sustainably”.

Kheng Tito, spokesman for military police, could not be reached, but said last week that 14 people taken into custody after being arrested on forestry charges included government officials, and that the government would spare no one after Hun Sen gave the green light to eradicate logging crimes.

Chheng Kim Son declined to comment Sunday.


Son of a farmer said...

Sen said correctly, " Spare no one...", but he did not mention about Hun Tou who openly owns Ratanakiri and Monoukiri forest!

Anonymous said...

How do you know that Hun Tou owned both of those forests. If that truth, when and where did he buy them? Get your fact straight! then we take it from there!

Anonymous said...

Democratic Kampuchea Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Regime

Pol Pot
Nuon Chea
Ieng Sary
Ta Mok
Khieu Samphan
Son Sen
Ieng Thearith
Kaing Kek Iev
Hun Sen
Chea Sim
Heng Samrin
Hor Namhong
Keat Chhon
Ouk Bunchhoeun
Sim Ka...

Mass Murder
Crimes Against Humanity
Force Labour
Overwork to Death
Human Abuses
Unlawful Detention

Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime

Hun Sen
Chea Sim
Heng Samrin
Hor Namhong
Keat Chhon
Ouk Bunchhoeun
Sim Ka...

Attempted Murders
Attempted Murder on Chea Vichea
Attempted Assassinations
Attempted Assassination on Sam Rainsy
Assassinated Journalists
Assassinated Political Opponents
Assassinated Leaders of the Free Trade Union
Assassinated over 80 members of Sam Rainsy Party.

"But as of today, over eighty members of my party have been assassinated. Countless others have been injured, arrested, jailed, or forced to go into hiding or into exile."
Sam Rainsy LIC 31 October 2009 - Cairo, Egypt
Executed over 100 members of FUNCINPEC Party
Murdered 3 Leaders of the Free Trade Union 
Murdered Chea Vichea
Murdered Ros Sovannareth
Murdered Hy Vuthy
Murdered Journalists
Murdered Khim Sambo
Murdered Khim Sambo's son 
Murdered members of Sam Rainsy Party.
Murdered activists of Sam Rainsy Party
Murdered Innocent Men
Murdered Innocent Women
Murdered Innocent Children
Killed Innocent Khmer Peoples.
Extrajudicial Execution
Grenade Attack
Drive by Shooting
Police Brutality Against Monks
Police Brutality Against Evictees
Death Threats
Human Abductions
Human Abuses
Human Rights Abuses
Human Trafficking
Drugs Trafficking
Under Age Child Sex
Border Encroachment, allow Vietnam to encroaching into Cambodia.
Signed away our territories to Vietnam; Koh Tral, almost half of our ocean territory oil field and others.  
Illegal Arrest
Illegal Mass Evictions
Illegal Land Grabbing
Illegal Firearms
Illegal Logging
Illegal Deforestation

Illegally use of remote detonation bomb on Sokha Helicopter, while Hok Lundy and other military officials were on board.

Lightning strike many airplanes, but did not fall from the sky.  Lightning strike out side of airplane and discharge electricity to ground. 
Source:  Lightning, Discovery Channel

Illegally Sold State Properties
Illegally Removed Parliamentary Immunity of Parliament Members
Plunder National Resources
Acid Attacks
Turn Cambodia into a Lawless Country.
Steal Votes
Bring Foreigners from Veitnam to vote in Cambodia for Cambodian People's Party.
Use Dead people's names to vote for Cambodian People's Party.
Disqualified potential Sam Rainsy Party's voters. 
Abuse the Court as a tools for CPP to send political opponents and journalists to jail.
Abuse of Power
Abuse the Laws
Abuse the National Election Committee
Abuse the National Assembly
Violate the Laws
Violate the Constitution
Violate the Paris Accords
Unlawful Detention
Death in custody.

Under the Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime, no criminals that has been committed crimes against journalists, political opponents, leaders of the Free Trade Union, innocent men, women and children have ever been brought to justice. 

Anonymous said...

In deed positive change should be welcome and applauded whether it comes from within or without. Culture and civilisation take centuries to build, but a little violence and ill will to destroy.

Civil wars might have ended some years ago, but their legacies remain through social practices and habits forged and shaped in the course of those conflicts. Nor should such facts be exploited as pretext for delaying much desperately needed reforms and improvements. Even within the restriction of a partisan political system if there is room for change that is beneficial to the nation and people, one should make maximum use of that space and give appropriate credit to the authority or person navigating that transformation. Positive change like random acts of kindness or compassion can produce multiplying ripples or consequences conducive to the general betterment of social life.

In many ways the personality of Cambodia's leaders is largely intertwined with the prestige and status of Cambodia itself on the regional and wider international stage. Mercurial moods and constant shifts and oscillations in policy decisions were, during Prince Sihanouk's era, a reflection of international pressures that had been brought to bear on his regime in the sixties much as the current one has been forced to make U- turn in diplomacy towards Bangkok in light of Thailand's ongoing turmoil.

The silent and wholesale destruction of Cambodia's forest has been an almost forgotten tragedy, an ecological genocide of this once beautiful pastoral land despite calls from civil groups, including this writer, for a halt to the devastation since the early nineties. It only takes casual curiosity or simple deduction to work out the delicate and critical symbiosis between humans and their natural environment. It is not impossible to re-grow a forest, but it would take decades to bring it about - if not longer - where tropical hard woods are concerned.

In Cambodia, it is not just the big trees that have been felled, but in many cases, this is followed by the clearing of surrounding vegetations to make way for rubber plantations or other commercial schemes. One Minister of Agriculture argued on the floor of the National Assembly that forest clearing was necessary adjustment in line with experience of other countries that gear their domestic agricultural logistics to meet world market demands such as the price of rubber. If this is the principal factor/justification in deforestation strategy, we need to find out what or how much revenue has the government derived from this development in the last 2-3 decades, what compensation has been granted to indigenous people for the loss of their food sources and livelihood traditionally supported by the local forest, what is the projected yield of the plantations within the foreseeable future in terms of public income, to which the Minister alluded and so forth.

There are signs that Mr Hun Sen is not entirely happy with some of his ministers, if so, perhaps, he himself has been misled by them all along. This is one of the drawbacks to be found in a monolithic system or style of leadership: the person at the top gets to read only the kind of report he expects to read because the contents of the report are meant to please the reader and highlight the achievements of the reporter, not to incriminate himself.

It is imperative, therefore, that individuals within the system with the right intentions and access get the right messages across to the One at the top before those clever self-serving yes-men cast their spell on Him first.

Anyway, just do the right thing and the Khmer people will always stand by you.

Sorry if this message depresses anyone on the occasion of the traditional New Year.

Peace and kindest wishes to all Khmers and non-Khmers.

School of Vice