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Preservation fight in Prey Lang forges on

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Environmental and human rights groups posted a Facebook campaign from April 1 to 10, calling on people to join in the protection of forests. Supplied

Preservation fight in Prey Lang forges on

A campaign by environmental and human rights groups calling on the government to shut down sawmills across the country to stop Cambodia’s latest deforestation has reached the second stage.

The campaign is being conducted in three stages. The first stage involved a Facebook campaign from April 1 to 10, calling on people to join in the protection of forests.

The second stage involves travelling by vehicles across the four provinces of Prey Lang from April 22 to 27. The third is a road trip campaign across the country where forest areas are allegedly being destroyed.

President of the Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) Tim Malay told The Post on Thursday that the second stage of the campaign has been organised with many activities besides just the vehicle campaign.

There are also photos posted to raise awareness of deforestation and young people have been invited to speak at the forest protection talks.

“In this campaign, we also want to commemorate Chut Wutty’s death eight years ago and remember his heroism, as well as tell young people to love the forest and natural resources,” Malay said.

Wutty was a Cambodian environmental activist who was founder and director of the Natural Resource Protection Group.

He said for the third stage, there will be a series of activities focused on telling the truth about deforestation in Cambodia, and groups may submit documents or images to the government institutions on the deforestation of Prey Lang and the smuggling of timber from Cambodia for sale abroad.

Malay said the evidence was in response to the government and whether it still alleged that the barring of activists and communities from Prey Lang was made without clear evidence.

The ministry’s secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said that the ministry supports NGOs and associations that are properly registered in accordance with the law and honestly take part in biodiversity conservation in Cambodia.

“It’s their right to organise any campaign or activity, but are their actions legitimate? The name of any NGO or association must be properly registered. We can’t have anarchy and malicious intent in the protected areas,” he said.

Pheaktra said his ministry would take legal action against Prey Lang Community Networks (PLCN) or organisations if they still opposed the ministry’s statement, which instructs community networks not to patrol in the Prey Lang area without agreeing with the ministry in advance.

Khut Soeurm, a PLCN member in Preah Vihear province told The Post on Thursday that on Friday, two villagers in the Ruosroan and Reabroy communes of Rovieng district will participate in a motorbike campaign.

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