Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authorities block Prey Lang community ordination event

Authorities block Prey Lang community ordination event

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the Prey Lang Community Network did not have permission for the event. Hean Rangsey

Authorities block Prey Lang community ordination event

Authorities over the weekend blocked the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) from holding a tree ordination ceremony in the Prey Lang protected forest area across four provinces, citing its failure to obtain permission to hold the event.

The PLCN had organised a two-day ceremony in the area but were unable to see it through as police forces and environmental officials prevented participants, including students and monks who had travelled from Phnom Penh, from attending.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra on Saturday sent a message to PLCN warning that it had not gained proper permission to enter the protected area and hold the event.

He said the attempt to hold it nonetheless, with the full knowledge that their request to do so was denied by the ministry and local authorities, was akin to an illegal act under the pretext of “unbridled” rights and freedom.

“Where PLCN intends to go is an area to be conserved and protected, especially to avoid affecting the wild animals and the ecological system in that area.

“Rangers from the Ministry of Environment have been fulfilling their mission to protect forests and wild animals in the Prey Lang area day and night.

“They have patrolled, stopped and cracked down on offences that happen in the conservation area. They removed snares that offenders secretly laid to catch wild animals illegally,” he said.

Pheaktra said organisations such as Equitable Cambodia, Peace Bridges Organisation and Danmission have no jurisdiction in the area and failed to sign a memorandum with the ministry.

He said they must halt their activities in the conservation area and stop supporting the community network as it went against the law.

“If these organisations want to collaborate and join with the Ministry of Environment in conservation work, they are welcome.

“But they should request formally via legal procedures rather than working secretly and beyond their jurisdiction. Their activities call into question their honesty in implementing their work,” he said.

Pheaktra said the ministry had already carried out a tree ordination ceremony in the area, as well as a camping event, from February 14-15.

More than 500 participants attended the programme, but the organisations initiated a separate programme in breach of the law, he noted.

A PLCN press release said the ceremony was aimed at expressing gratitude for the forest and to raise awareness to make sure that Prey Lang forest is preserved.

It said it had hoped the ceremony would strengthen collaboration with the government to protect natural resources and biodiversity in the area.

Human rights NGO Licadho, which PLCN said was invited to join the event, issued a statement on Friday noting it had been blocked from doing so.

It said authorities from the ministry and local officials, some of whom were armed with guns, told participants in four provinces to gain permission from senior leadership in order to enter the forest and to produce a formal permission letter.

The statement said permission should not be required to take part in the protection of natural resources.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group