Cambodia: environmental and community-based defenders prevented from staging an eventEvent
- Initial Date
- Feb 21, 2020
- Event Description
Hundreds of community members, environmental activists, monks and civil society members were stopped by authorities from entering parts of the Prey Lang protected forest this afternoon. Several different groups of participants were stopped while traveling to the intended site of an annual Buddhist ceremony, which is held to raise awareness about illegal logging and conservation of Cambodia’s largest protected area.
Authorities from the Environment Ministry and local officials, some armed with guns, told several different groups across four provinces that they required permission from a “higher level” to be allowed to enter the forest and asked for “official permission letters” from participants. Such permission is not required by law.
Several participants also reported that local authorities threatened local villagers to pressure them not to allow participants to sleep in their villages during their travel or participate in the ceremony, which lasts for several days.
In contrast to today’s actions, just last week 500 officials from the Environment Ministry held an event in Prey Lang and encouraged youth activists and community members to take action in order to help conserve the forest, which spans Kratie, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear and Stung Treng provinces.
Community members were previously forced to cancel the annual event in 2018 due to threats from authorities. At the time, an Environment Ministry spokesperson said those fears were unfounded and told local media that his ministry would collaborate to protect the forest.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Administrative Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of movement
- Community-based HRD
- Environmental rights defender
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 21 February 2020, a large group of community-based and envorinmental defenders was prevented by the police upon order of the Ministry of Environment from staging a ceremony to raise awareness on illegel logging in Prey Lang, Cambodia.