Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Villagers ‘paid to log’ lost land

In Ratanakkiri province, an area of forest is being cleared
by machinery in an economic land concession. PHOTO SUPPLIED
May Titthara, The Phnom Penh Post
25 November 2013

Local communities that lost their land via economic land concessions to private companies are now being paid by those same firms to illegally fell the trees that once sustained their livelihoods, a group of five advocacy groups contended yesterday.

At a press conference, the NGOs singled out 18 companies they say have been exploiting local villagers who see few alternatives to make ends meet.

Rights group Adhoc, along with the Natural Resources and Wildlife Preservation Organization, the Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and the Community Peace Building Network Cambodia, said they would file complaints to the authorities if action was not taken.

“After this appeal, if the government does not take any action, we will file complaints to a judicial institution and the Anti-Corruption Unit against some 100 individuals who are … police, military police, oknhas and business people,” said Chan Soveth, a senior investigator with Adhoc.

Employing local forest communities to illegally fell trees is a new strategy pioneered by tycoon Try Pheap, according to CCHR’s senior natural resources researcher, Chhem Savuth.

“About 80 per cent of the population in Preah Vihear’s Rovieng and Cheb districts [are involved in logging] for the companies, because they think the government does not take measures to prevent it, and if they do not log, the companies will log them all [anyway],” he said.

Last week, the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force reported that Pheap’s companies possessed nearly 70,000 hectares through a number of subsidiaries in order to export luxury timber abroad in breach of Cambodian law. Try Pheap denies the claim and has filed for defamation against two people quoted in the report.

Try Pheap, director of MDS Import-Export Co, Ltd, could not be reached yesterday.

Savoeun said forest land had been sold off to companies at an alarming rate, causing farming communities to lose their incomes and rely on logging for the companies.

“Granting ELCs to the companies effects people’s land, leading those people to lose their occupations and forcing them to log for the companies for survival,” he said.

But despite people being put in this situation, he added, many more were angry and frustrated.

“A people’s movement will occur, even though they know they would be in danger, because the forest crimes bring about climate changes,” he said.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said unless clear evidence of wrongdoing was presented, the government would not take action.

“The evidence should be clarified clearly; which official has done something wrong and where. If they just hint, it is just an attack and it is not a measure to help crack down on forest crimes,” he said. “We have clear principles for preserving and conserving the forest, and we will not work with the [NGOs’] appeal,” he said.


Anonymous said...

Kill ah kwaq save your country,kill ah Pheap Try save your forests!.....What are you all Khmers waiting for? Its your duty as a citizen of the suffering land always create chaotics due to GREEDS! Kill Tep Vong save your Buddhism from yiekcong invaders.


Anonymous said...

economic land concession to clean up and sell all KHMER natural resources. Khmer people young and old stand pride and watch. FKKKKKK

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

who likes old pussies?

9:19 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do,old mother Teresa would be blessed:-) Old Sos Jendah even better,die with both of my eyes closed tight ;-)


10:08 PM

Anonymous said...

You can bark all you want behind the keyboards. The villagers have no choice but to survive by logging, at least they earn some money instead of talking shits. They run out of patience, no one will help them. Their lands are already auctioned off what choice do they have? Go on the computers and shout. It useless. IF they don't do the logging, some other villagers from other provinces will do the job. In the END, they hope that once the companies plant the rubber trees, they get the jobs on the plantations too. Good deals for them. They live in that areas, don't try to be smart and think for them. They need to live, work, and eat OK?

Anonymous said...

Hun Sen must go , as we all know Hun Sen or CPP are political tools of yuon Hanoi to annex yuon yoke on Cambodia and to exterminate Khmer ethnics.

Hun Sen must be forced by million Khmer to step down before we Khmer face the same fate as Champa, Lao and Kampuchea-Krom.

Ah Hun Sen must go.