The Indigenous Peoples and Forestry Network (IPFN) yesterday released a statement praising the government’s ongoing purported crackdown on illegal logging, but saying far more needs to be done.
The statement, backed by 35 organisations, praised the government’s “current heavy-handed action”, saying it represented a will to combat forestry crimes – something multiple activists have questioned – but complained that “the existing legal mechanisms do not suffice”.
Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the creation of an anti-logging commission in January as part of a crackdown on forestry crime, starting with a pilot scheme in six provinces.
However, Em Sopheak, a coordinator at the Community Legal Education Centre, a member of the IFPN, said yesterday that while the commission had produced positive results in those provinces, he feared that this crackdown’s results would prove temporary as others have before it.
“In each crackdown campaign, [forestry] crime decreased, but it increased by double afterwards,” Sopheak explained.
“In the past, crackdowns have been launched for a short period of time and then [tycoons] or powerful people started [logging] again and stronger than before.”
Eng Hy, the anti-logging commission spokesman, said the commission was making good progress and asked that the network forward its requests to the commission.
“The progress of the committee is a lot; forestry crime is quiet, there is no anarchic logging,” Hy said.