In the Media
Cambodian forest campaigners fight rampant logging
May 25, 2012
Frustrated by government inaction, Cambodian citizen patrollers are risking their lives to take on the country’s illegal loggers in a bid to save their shrinking forests.
The shooting of a prominent environmentalist by a military policeman last month after he refused to hand over logging photos rocked the kingdom and shone an unflattering light on government conservation efforts.
Forest communities who depend on the woodlands for their survival say they plan to keep Chhut Vuthy’s brand of grassroots activism alive by stepping up the patrols he introduced last year to monitor forest crimes.
Rights groups and environmental watchdogs have linked many of these concessions to rampant illegal logging, and say armed government forces are routinely used to act as security guards for offending companies.
Following the outcry over Vuthy’s death, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered a freeze on new land grants, a move cautiously welcomed by environmental groups, who nevertheless argue it will not save the forests already under threat.
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Keywords: activist, Asia, Cambodia, campaigner, police, rights