The Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN)—a grassroots coalition of activists dedicated to protecting Cambodia’s forests—has received the Environmental and Human Rights Award from the New Yorkbased Alexander Soros Foundation for its effort to combat illegal logging, the group announced Thursday.
The annual award, which also posthumously recognized the work of slain environmental activist Chut Wutty, was accepted on behalf of the PLCN by Megan McInnis, senior land campaigner at Global Witness, on September 26 in London, the group announced during a press conference at Meta House in Phnom Penh on Thursday.
The award—named for the son of American philanthropist George Soros—comes with $25,000 in prize money for the recipient.
“Supporting the work of the Prey Lang Community Network represents the best way to make sure Wutty’s work is continued, and we are delighted that his legacy is being honored in this way,” said Hoeun Sopheap, a PLCN member from Kompong Thom province, during the press conference.
“I think the Alexander Soros Foundation gave the award to the PLCN because we advocate only peaceful protests and nonviolence in our efforts to protect the forests [from illegal logging],” he added.
Chut Wutty was shot dead in the front seat of his car while patrolling for illegal logging in Koh Kong province alongside two Cambodia Daily reporters.
“Chut Wutty died, but there are many Chut Wuttys,” said Phork Hong, a PLCN member from Preah Vihear province, referring the other people who work to protect Cambodia’s forests from illegal logging.
(Additional reporting by Ben Woods)