Sunday, April 29, 2012

Statement of killing of Cambodian environment activist in Cambodia



The below are statements from national and international NGOs related killing of Chhut Wutty, President of Cambodia’s Natural Resources Conservation Group and a well-known environmental activist.

Cambodian Authorities Must Investigate Killing of Chhut Wutty and Arrest Perpetrators

Phnom Penh, 26 April 2012 — The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) strongly condemns the killing of Mr. Chhut Vuthy, President of Cambodia’s Natural Resources Conservation Group and a well-known environmental activist. Mr. Chhut was killed today as he was investigating a case of illegal logging in Koh Kong province. ADHOC urges the Cambodian authorities to immediately launch an investigation into his death and arrest perpetrators.
According to the information received, on 26 April 2012, Mr. Chhut travelled to Russey Chrum commune, Thmor Bang district, Koh Kong province to collect evidence about illegal logging in the Central Cardamom Protected Forest. He and two female journalists from The Cambodia Daily intended to take photographs of a place where illegal wood has been stocked. As loggers asked Mr. Chhut to shut down his camera, he refused and was shot dead on the spot. The two journalists were arrested by the military police. They were released later in the afternoon.
The Cambodian authorities must immediately launch an investigation into the killing of Chhut Vuthy, arrest perpetrators and prosecute them. ADHOC expresses deep concerns about the security of human rights defenders and community representatives, in particular those involved in the protection of land and natural resources. The Cambodian government must now demonstrate its commitment to protect both environmental activists and protected natural areas and hold those who are responsible for illegal acts to account, regardless of their rank or social standing.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of Monitoring Section: 011 274 959
Mr. Chan Soveth, Deputy Head of Monitoring Section: 016 667 373
Mr. Nicolas Agostini, Technical Assistant: 078 405 024

Picture  © Radio Free Asia.

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Statement of CIVICUS
Phnom Penh, 26 April 2012: We, at CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education, condemn the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Chhut Vuty, the president of Natural Resources Conservation Group, today at noon at Thmor Bang district of Koh Kong Province. He was on mission investigating the illegal logging in the protected areas of the Cardamon Mountains. His body is being transported to his family ancestral village in Kandal Province tonight.
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Statement in response to killing of prominent Cambodian forest campaigner Chut Wutty

26th April 2012
Statement in response to killing of prominent Cambodian forest campaigner Chut Wutty
We are shocked and devastated to learn of the killing of Chut Wutty, Director of environmental watchdog Natural Resource Protection Group (NPRG), in Cambodia today. Wutty was reportedly shot by members of the Military Police while engaged in field research into illegal logging and land seizures.
"Chut Wutty was one of the few remaining Cambodian activists willing to speak out against the rapid escalation of illegal logging and land grabbing which is impoverishing ordinary Cambodians and destroying the country's rich natural heritage. The extent of the risks he and other activists face has been laid bare in the most shocking and tragic manner.  He will be very sorely missed," said Global Witness Director Patrick Alley. "The national government and international donor countries must publicly condemn his murder and take swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice."
Corruption and violence in Cambodia's forest sector has been well documented over many years. The Cambodian government and international donors have collectively failed to tackle this problem, leaving activists from forest-dependent communities and local civil society groups like Wutty standing up for basic human rights, the environment, and the rule of law on their own.
The work of activists such as Chut Wutty should be publicly celebrated as heroic.  Yet the reality in Cambodia is that members of the military, business and political elite, who prey on the country's natural resource wealth for personal profit, view them as a direct threat. As this terrible incident shows, those who take on these vested interests face intimidation and even death. 
The dangers faced by individual activists working on land and forest protection have always been severe; Wutty is not the first to be killed, and sadly, may not be the last. But the stakes for Cambodia's people and its environment are now just as high, as forest and land clearance proceeds at a devastating pace.
The world must not stand by and simply watch.  Cambodia's international donor partners must prevail upon the government, as a matter of urgency, to open up its notoriously murky natural resource sector and hold the most powerful and violent illegal loggers and land grabbers to account.
/Ends
Contact:
London:  Patrick Alley at             +44 7921 788 897      palley@globalwitness.org
Washington DC:  Megan MacInnes at             + 44 7540 891 837      ;cambodia@globalwitness.org
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26 April 2012

Killing of Cambodian environment activist must be investigated

Illegal logging is rife in Cambodia
Illegal logging is rife in Cambodia
© Amnesty International
This shocking incident will undoubtedly set alarm bells ringing for all activists who have worked with Wutty
Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia
The killing of a prominent Cambodian environment activist must be investigated immediately, Amnesty International said after the activist and a military police officer were shot dead on Thursday in Cambodia’s south-western Koh Kong province.

Other military personnel were apparently present during the shootings, but the details of the incident remain cloudy.

Chut Wutty was an outspoken critic of illegal logging, and has supported other environment and land activists, such as the Prey Lang Network. He had received threats because of his activities.

“This shocking incident will undoubtedly set alarm bells ringing for all activists who have worked with Wutty” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia.

“There must be accountability in this case, with an immediate and proper investigation into what happened.”

Two women journalists from the Cambodia Daily newspaper - Cambodian Phorn Bopha and Olesia Plokhii, a Canadian national - were with Wutty when he was shot. Both were initially detained, but have since been released.

“The Cambodian authorities must guarantee the safety of the two journalists caught up in this tragedy while reporting. As the only individuals who may know what happened, they could be at risk,” said Abbott.

Wutty was the Director of the Natural Resource Protection Group (NRPG), a Cambodian NGO that campaigns against the destruction of the country’s forests.
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