THE environmental watch-dog organization Global Witness (GW) has called on the Cambodian
Government to cancel the GAT logging company's concession in the Cardamoms.
GW says GAT has repeatedly breached its contract, illegally cut logs, and has disregarded
directives issued by the Department of Forestry and Wildlife's Director General,
The Government should restate its commitment to preserving the forests and wildlife
of the Cardamom Mountains, says GW, by setting a timetable for the removal of all
logging concessionaires from the region.
GW's Director, Patrick Alley, said the Government's announcement at the May 2000
Consultative Group meeting in Paris of its "firm intention" to conserve
the Cardamoms was encouraging, but allowing the five concessionaires to continue
logging there is inconsistent with this goal.
"A failure on the part of the RGC to cancel GAT's contract is a major threat
to the reform process. The concessionaires must not be seen to be out of bounds for
the Forest Crime Monitoring Unit (FCMU)," said GW.
"This will only encourage the concessionaires to continue their illegal activities
and to act as a cartel."