Phnom Penh, March 18, 2015: Members of the Pukong’s community together with NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) conducted a press conference to call for Intervention from the Cambodian Government on Land Grabbing and Illegal Logging in Pu Kong Village, Sre Preah Commune, Keo Siema District, Mondulkiri.
“The Forest is our life, in particular, resin trees are a natural resource that generates income to support our community’s livelihood, but now the companies have destroyed over 80 percent of all the resin trees that we have,” said by Vannak Khverk, member of an indigenous group from Srae Ampil village, Mondolkiri, whose livelihood is also threatened by Economic Land Concessions (ELCs).
Land grabbing and deforestation cases in Pu Kong are dramatically affect the community, especially, indigenous people (IP) , as illustrated by the statement above. In Pu Kong, IP are in dispute with Benh Hoeurk Kratie Rubber Co. Ltd., which was granted an ELC in October 2011 over 8,926 ha of land with 70 years contract for agro-industry development purposes.
Dr. Tek Vannara, NGOF’s Executive director, during the press conference, urged the government to accelerate the process of community land registration to the Idignenous People (IP), closely monitoring how Econonmic Land Concessions (ELCs) are granted, and strengthen law enforcement to prevent illegal logging forestery protected areas. These areas should be considered as a national treasure to support the livelihood, culture and traditions .
Pu Kong community member, Mr. Kverk, added that by 2015, in Sre Preah Community, approximately 80% of all the forest located on about 9,000 HA of land in Mondulkiri were being destroy by the rubber plantation development through the ECLs granted by the Cambodian Government.