Continued illegal logging in Cambodia’s protected areas is threatening the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and threatening their cultural identity, the rights group Amnesty International said in a new report published on Friday.
The report focuses on the impacts of deforestation on the Kuy people, one of the largest of Cambodia’s 24 indigenous minority groups, and the Prey Lang and Prey Preah Roka protected forest sanctuaries that are central to their economic, cultural, and spiritual life. Amnesty cited remote sensing data showing that at least 6,200 hectares of forest were cut down in these two protected areas in 2021, after more than a decade of severe forest loss.
“In Cambodia, the cultural and spiritual identity of the Kuy people is intimately intertwined with protected forests such as Prey Lang and Prey Preah Roka,” stated the report, which was based on interviews with 20 community activists working to protect the two forests. “In addition to their cultural practices and spiritual beliefs, the traditional livelihoods of Kuy people depend on the sustainable use of the forests which they rely upon.”