Rainsy Visits Logging-Ravaged Prey Long Forest

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and other members of the CNRP visited Kompong Thom province’s heavily logged Prey Long forest on Wednesday to meet with villagers affected by logging and host a public forum.

CNRP lawmaker-elect Long Ry, who was part of the entourage that accompanied Mr. Rainsy to the forest after Tuesday’s march in Siem Reap City, said the opposition leader had visited some of the most severely deforested areas of Prey Long.

“Sam Rainsy went to the CRCK Company concession and we saw many logs of wood stored at the company’s base and also the large-scale clearance of land outside their government grant,” he said.

CRCK Company has a 6,044-hectare economic land concession, but local villagers have for years accused it of logging outside of its concession.

Hoeun Sopheap, a member of the Prey Long People’s Network, said that about 300 villagers attended a public forum in Sandan commune hosted by Mr. Rainsy after his tour.

“He promised to intervene to authorities to get land back to villagers who have been violated by the company,” Mr. Sopheap said, referring to villagers who say CRCK has cleared parts of their farmland.

Mr. Rainsy said that after seeing the destruction of the forest, he had promised villagers that CNRP district councilors elected in May 2014 would take an active role to end illegal logging in the forest.

“I told them we will expose their cases,” Mr. Rainsy said. “They will file complaints, launch demonstrations, work with the press and human rights organizations, and they will support the Prey Long communities in patrolling and uncovering the illegal activities of the companies.”

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