Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM Hun Sen threatens to give Global Witness the boot

PM Hun Sen threatens to give Global Witness the boot

PM Hun Sen threatens to give Global Witness the boot


"Maybe [Global Witness] thought that ... I will have to step down as Prime Minister during the first three months of 2001," PM Hun Sen.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has blasted the environmental monitors Global Witness (GW),

threatening to expel the organization from Cambodia.

Hun Sen's threats came in the wake of a GW report presented to the Government and

donors at the January 29 Consultative Group meeting in Phnom Penh.

The report said illegal logging, on a massive scale, has resumed in Cambodia and

the Government is losing much-needed revenue.

At a January 31 speech at the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen questioned GW's agenda

in Cambodia.

"I feel that the [GW criticisms] are a politically motivated defamation of the

honor of local authorities and the competence of the Government," said the Prime


"Maybe [Global Witness] thought that because of my promise [to stop illegal

logging] in front of the United Nations, if it is shown that I am not able to curb

illegal logging then I will have to step down as Prime Minister during the first

three months of 2001."

A spokesperson for GW, Jon Buckrell, told the Post the organization does not have

a political agenda and acknowledges the Prime Minister's support in reforming Cambodia's

forestry sector.

"In the press release issued prior to the post-CG meeting Global Witness said

'Under Hun Sen's leadership the possibility of forestry reform has become a reality.

The RGC's commitment to preservation of the central Cardamoms, and to the concept

of forestry reform has been amazing over the past year.' Clearly Global Witness'

sole motivation is the preservation of Cambodia's forests, not to get involved in

politics," said Buckrell.

Hun Sen also attacked the veracity of GW's forest crime investigations and complained

that GW gave information about their investigations to the media before informing

the Government.

"We will accept information about illegal logging from every source, and we

will take action, but the information we receive from Global Witness is always wrong,"

said the Prime Minister.

Buckrell refutes this assertion. "Over the past year Global Witness has provided

the government, not the press, with 22 factually accurate crime reports. We consistently

demonstrated a desire to work closely with the government and stand by the accuracy

of these reports."

Hun Sen said the Cambodian Government is being unfairly scrutinized. "Though

we welcome people who come to help us, we oppose those who intend to destroy us.

"This organization has no legal right to work in Cambodia , and also no visa

to enter Cambodia. This is [GW's] mistake and they must apologize to me - or does

[GW] want me to kick [them] out? This is Cambodia, it is not your country,"

he said.

The Prime Minister urged the audience of police officials to show some initiative

in the effort to stop forest crimes.

"We don't need to wait for reports from Global Witness, why don't we just investigate

illegal logging activity ourselves? We have to crack down on illegal logging everywhere,

including in forest concessions given by the Government," said Hun Sen.

Buckrell said canceling Global Witness' contract would only benefit illegal loggers.

"The Government and Global Witness should unite efforts to tackle rogue concessionaires

rather than end cooperation."


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which