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

globe.jpg
globe.jpg

"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

Minister.

"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."

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s