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Forest activist probing Romania illegal logging beaten by thugs
Earlier this week, a physical assault on an environmental activist in the forests of Romania marked the latest in a string of such attacks around the world and further highlights the need for government authorities to take meaningful enforcement action in response.
Gabriel Păun of the Romanian non-profit Agent Green, on the invitation of local people concerned about activities within natural protected areas, was monitoring an area in Râul Alb, Sălaşul de Sus, Hunedoara County when he and two guides were chased and violently attacked by a large group of men.
Păun and one of the guides were cornered and beaten by the group. The attack, which occurred on Sunday, was caught on film by the victims.
Legal representatives of Păun have issued a statement that the attack took place in relation to logging connected to the construction of hydro-electric power plants and that at least one of the leading assailants was both a local councillor and an employee of the company behind the plants’ construction.
Earlier this month, UK-based NGO Global Witness released the report How Many More? documenting the increasing number of murders of environmental activists around the world.
“This is a critical human rights issue, pure and simple,” said EIA UK Forests Campaign team leader Faith Doherty. “These events in Romania – and in many other parts of the world –underline the extreme danger faced by many environmental activists who are doing nothing more than attempting to protect their forests and ancestral lands from destruction and exploitation at the hands of ruthless criminals, corrupt corporate entities, corrupt politicians and the thugs they employ."
Read the EIA news update in full at eia-international.org/forest-activist-investigating-illegal-logging-in-romania-is-beaten-by-thugs
#Romania #forests #illegallogging ... See MoreSee Less
6 hours ago ·
Mozambique: Rhino horn and ivory allegedly go missing from police warehouse in Maputo
On the 14th of May a ton and a half of elephant tusks and rhino horns were seized by the Mozambican police in Matola. It is believed that 235 animals must have been slaughtered: 170 elephants and 65 rhinos. A Chinese man was arrested but police have yet to reveal his identity.
Namibian investigative journalist, John Grobler, had this to say on his Facebook page, “Just got word that the massive haul of 65 rhino horn and 340 ivory tusks have disappeared from the Police Commander’s warehouse in Maputo.
[That was the] same warehouse where I got bust 23 years ago photographing soldiers off-loading RENAMO ivory into what I was told was former President, Armando Gbeuza’s warehouse. [It] cost me a few days in jail and everything I owned in Maputo before a friend could bribe me out of there.
It is not the first time this happens: ivory and rhino horns keep disappearing from official custody in Mozambique, which tells you that the government itself is involved in the ongoing plunder of their own and their neighbour’s natural resources.
It is time Mozambique gets exposed for the role they play in this and FRELIMO’s rotten officials placed under international sanctions. Because this is, like crime everywhere in countries led by former liberation movements, coming out of the ruling party’s inner-most circles.”
A report on Verdade.com says that the horns and ivory was stolen from the premises of the Police Provincial Command in the early hours of Friday, the 22nd of May from a place that was locked with three padlocks whose keys were entrusted to the same number of people.
Read the full story at africageographic.com/blog/rhino-horn-and-ivory-allegedly-go-missing-from-police-warehouse-in-maputo/
#Mozambique #Africa #ivory #rhino #corruption
Image (c) Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism ... See MoreSee Less
9 hours ago ·
Mozambique lifts ban on logging despite corruption fears
The governor of the central Mozambican province of Sofala, Helena Taipo, has lifted the logging ban and authorized the resumption of logging following a closed-door meeting with timber operators, local chiefs and staff of the provincial forestry and wildlife department, the local media reported on Tuesday.
A staggering 93 percent of logging in 2015 in Mozambique, one of the world’s least-developed country was illegal, fuelled by poor law enforcement, endemic corruption, insufficient funding and incompetent leadership, according to the United Kingdom-based Environmental Investigation Agency.
Do you want to learn more about crime and corruption in Mozambique's forests? Check out these EIA reports:
* First Class Connections: Log Smuggling, Illegal Logging and Corruption in Mozambique - eia-international.org/reports/first-class-connections
* First Class Crisis: China’s Criminal and Unsustainable Intervention in Mozambique’s Miombo Forests - eia-international.org/reports/first-class-crisis-chinas-criminal-and-unsustainable-intervention-i...
Throughout Mozambique the logging season begins on 1 April and closes on 31 December. No logging is allowed in the first quarter of the year.
However, Taipo refused to allow the resumption of logging in April because of serious corruption in the forestry and wildlife department which she is trying to eliminate.
When Taipo met with the Association of Timber Operators, they requested that she urgently lift the ban on logging and she accepted.
Each licensed forestry operator must channel 20 percent of its income to the communities on whose land the forests are located.
The communities told Taipo they do not see any of this money, and blamed the operators.
According to Taipo, all of this crime and environmental mismanagement has robbed Mozambique’s rural poor and wider population of US$146 million in terms of lost taxes since 2007 and this includes a potential US$20 million that should have gone to rural communities under the forest regulations.
Legitimate timber operators accepted that Taipo’s drive was well-intentioned, but pointed out that they might be driven into bankruptcy if they are unable to work.
#Mozambique #Africa #forests #logging #corruption
Image: Log truck, Mozambique (c) EIA ... See MoreSee Less
11 hours ago ·