UPDATE: Victory — 40,000 Hectares Protected!
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Cancels Four Concessions in the Prey Lang Forest
On August 6th the Phnom Penh Post reported the following VICTORY:
In a rare victory for those battling to preserve the Prey Lang forest, the Cambodian government has cancelled four economic land concessions (ELCs) in the area totaling more than 40,000 hectares that threatened pristine ecosystems . . . [the concessions] are located in the middle of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest inside 'the largest low-land [contiguous evergreen] forest in Southeast Asia' – Prey Lang.
CAMPAIGN TO SAVE CAMBODIA'S "AMAZON"
The Prey Lang Action Alert in other languages:
Haz clic aquí para ver el Kit de Acción sobre Prey Lang en español
Cliquer ici pour la Trousse d’action en français sur la forêt Prey Lang
Klicken Sie hier, um das Prey Lang Action Kit auf Deutsch zu bestellen
Нажмите здесь для Прей Ланг Action Kit (Набор Действий) на русском языке
Quick Menu (jump to another section):
Action Alert: What's happening in Cambodia and what you can do Take Action: Write a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen and sign-on to our letter Spread the Word: Share this action on Twitter and Facebook Donate: Help us protect the Prey Lang Forest Activist Toolkit: Download ready-to-use materials for your campaign Media Center: Learn more with videos, photo series, and other content Background: Quick facts about Prey Lang Press Corner: Our latest press releases Whose Forest: A poem by campaign supporter Martin Cobin
The Prey Lang forest is to Cambodia what the Amazon is to Brazil.
But Prey Lang could be gone soon thanks to illegal logging and government granted land concessions to agro-industries and mining companies. Old-growth forests are being clear-cut and replaced with rubber tree and cassava plantations (the latter to provide ‘eco-friendly’ ethanol), or mined for iron and other ores.
We have recently learned from inside sources that the government has granted four new land concessions in the core of the Prey Lang area. If true, and these concessions are allowed to go ahead, we fear it is ‘game over’ for the forest and its communities. Your action now can help save Prey Lang.
The Prey Lang Community Network, mostly local villagers, is fighting to save Prey Lang. For years, members of the Network have petitioned the Cambodian government to cooperate and work together to protect and sustainably manage the forest. Now, despite government intimidation, threats of violence, and the presence of the police and the military, hundreds of local villagers are patrolling the forests—day and night—to stop the illegal logging. On March 26, 2012, the Phnom Penh Post reported that 500 villagers from the Prey Lang area were patrolling the forest on 250 motorbikes. The Post reported the villagers “have vowed to continue patrols in coming days and to block a road used by rubber company CRCK if authorities don’t take action.”
In the language of Cambodia’s Kuy people, Prey Lang means “Our Forest.” 200,000 people depend on the Prey Lang forest for their livelihoods, their culture, and their lives. Now, Prey Lang is in trouble—and it needs our help.
WE ARE “OUR FOREST”
The Kuy people live in harmony with Prey Lang, but they believe the forest is for everyone. Their forest is our forest, too.
Police armed with AK47s have broken up Prey Lang Network meetings, and members are being threatened with physical harm and criminal charges.
The last hope for saving Prey Lang is if people and organizations from around the world send messages to the Cambodian Prime Minister letting him know the world is watching and urging him to protect Prey Lang.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
TAKE ACTION: Please send a message to the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and urge him to:
SUSPEND all logging and mining concessions in the greater Prey Lang area.
CONFER Prey Lang with protected status and enforce its protection. COMMIT to sustainably managing the forest in cooperation with the Prey Lang Community Network.
WHERE TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE
EMAIL email@example.com FAX +1 212 755 4576 POSTAL MAIL Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen care of: H.E. Mr. Kosal Sea Cambodian Ambassador UN Cambodian Mission 327 East 58th Street New York, NY 10022 USA
SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WRITING
START your letter with “Dear Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.”
ASK that he take the specific actions listed in this Action Alert.
EXPLAIN why this issue is important to you and important to Cambodia.
THANK him for doing everything he can to protect the Prey Lang forest and ask him for a reply to your letter. Be sure to provide your name and email and/or postal address.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
FILL OUT our brief survey to let us know what actions you've taken and to add your name to our sign-on letter. SEND copies of your email, fax, and/or letter to EarthAction so that we can tell the Prey Lang Community Network about their global support.
EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org FAX +1 413 256 8871 POSTAL MAIL EarthAction P.O. Box 63 Amherst MA 01004 USA
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD
POST about Prey Lang and your action on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ourforest.
Tweet #OurForest WRITE a letter-to-the editor of your local newspaper(s) about Prey Lang urging others to write to Hun Sen.
DONATE TO THE PREY LANG CAMPAIGN
Download and print our ready-to-use materials to help with your own outreach and campaign activities. Click on the PDFs or DOCs to download! (if that doesn't work, right click and choose "Save link as...") Media Alert Send to your local and national newspapers, blogs, and other media outlets. Add a note saying that you or your organization are taking part in this global campaign. PDF Press Release For organizations and individuals who have added their name to the sign-on letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen. Includes spaces to add your organization's name and campaign activities. Send to your local and national newspapers, blogs, and other media outlets. DOC (41.5K) Action Alert and Poster Didn't get a copy from us in the mail? Need more? You can print them here in European (A4) and U.S. (Letter) sizes. This full kit includes background information, actions to take, and ready to use print graphics. Make Prey Lang known to everyone by asking your members to put these beautifully designed posters in their offices, homes, and places around the community. EarthAction Prey Lang Action Kit - A4 EarthAction Prey Lang Action Kit - Letter
(You can still request a larger professionally printed copy from us by filling our our action survey) Fact Sheet A quick guide to the situation in Cambodia and the ecological, environmental, and indigenous issues at stake. Pass these out at meetings, give to your constituents, or use as a background sheet to create your own materials. PDF Back to Top
Prey Lang Community Network: www.preylang.com/threats/
Amnesty International video: http://www.amnesty.org.au/poverty/comments/27241
YouTube 5 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJHEiYmleVo&feature=player_embedded
CNN iReport, 2 minute video about the Avatar protest, May 2011: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-613176?ref=feeds%2Flatest
PRI’s The World, 4 minute audio report of the Avatar protest, May 25, 2011: http://www.theworld.org/2011/05/indigenous-protest-cambodia/
List of media coverage of the May 2011 Avatar Protest: http://ourpreylang.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/prey-lang-avatars-in-world-news/
What’s so special about the Prey Lang forest?
Biodiversity: The core area of primary, lowland, evergreen forest covers about 200,000 acres, surrounded by 670,000 acres of secondary forest. All together, the forest has seven distinct ecosystems, including a primordial swamp forest, that provide habitat to more than 50 endangered animal and bird species. Most areas remain largely unexplored by scientists. Elephants still roam wild in parts of Prey Lang.
Food & Water Security: The Prey Lang forest is a vital source of water for Cambodia’s rice growing region and for the Mekong delta. As a primary watershed regulating water and sediment flow to the Tonle Sap Basin, and as an important fish spawning area, Prey Lang is vital for Cambodia’s long-term environmental sustainability and for food and water security.
Climate Stabilization: Left standing, the Prey Lang forest has among the highest carbon sequestration values in the region, and is a powerhouse for fighting global warming. Cambodia’s Forest Administration has identified Prey Lang as an important area for conservation, with high potential for carbon-credit financing.
Sustaining Life: The Prey Lang forest meets the food, water, livelihood and spiritual needs of the Kuy communities. They build their rice fields along Prey Lang’s edges and go into the forest for hunting, fishing, and gathering fruits and herbs for food and ceremonies. They tap several species of trees and collect the resin for making torches and caulking boats. Resin has become the main source of cash for many Kuy families who sell it for industrial use. Overall, the forest is the spiritual center of their lives.
EarthAction is collaborating with the Prey Lang Community Network and Global Response, the action arm of Cultural Survival in developing and carrying out this global campaign. Read the Prey Lang Media Alert: Campaign to Save "Cambodia's Amazon"
Read the Prey Lang Fact Sheet
About EarthAction. EarthAction is a global network of over 2,000 civil society organizations in more than 160 countries, along with policymakers, journalists and citizens, who take timely, focused, action together to protect the global environment, preserve peace, and promote human rights. EarthAction has initiated over 90 global campaigns since its launch at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.
EarthAction, PO Box 63, Amherst, MA 01004 USA Tel: 1 413 549 8118 For Press Inquiries, contact Lois Barber, Executive Director at email@example.com About Cultural Survival. For 40 years, Cultural Survival has partnered with Indigenous Peoples around the world to protect their lands, languages and cultures. At the request of Indigenous communities that are struggling to prevent environmental destruction in their territories, the Global Response program organizes international public-pressure campaigns to change the policies and behaviors of governments and corporations. Cambridge MA, Boulder CO, and Guatemala Web campaign: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/take-action/cambodia Tel. 1 303 444-0306, Cell: 1 303 335-8629 For inquries, email Paula Palmer, Director of the Global Response Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org Prey Lang Community Network. Sokheng Seng, press contact for the Community Peacebuilding Network (CPN) and The Prey Lang Community Network. Email: email@example.com Tel in Cambodia: +855 92324668 Prey Lang Community Network: http://preylang.com/the-network/ and http://ourpreylang.wordpress.com/
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This poem was written by campaign supporter Martin Cobin. Says Martin, “I hope this poem will inspire others, people of all ages, to do what they can to help the Kuy people protect their forest – our forest – Prey Lang.” Thanks Martin!
“Whose forest is this anyway?” you ask?
The people living here are called “Kuy” (Kooee).
They call the forest where they live, “Prey Lang.”
That means “our forest.” That’s the way we all
can name “our Earth,” “our sky,” “our sun,” “our stars.”
But what about the folks who’d like to say,
“The Earth is mine. The sky, the sun, the stars
are mine—to do with as I wish if I
can make a profit from it even though
in doing so I might destroy them all.”
You wouldn’t believe them, would you? Yet it’s true.
By mining, cutting trees, and building roads
that’s what these people think that they can do
right now. They’re threatening Prey Lang today.
Tomorrow do you believe that there they’ll stay?
If they get what they want it isn’t just
Prey Lang they will destroy. Kuy as well
will suffer since they’ll lose their way of life.
If that’s allowed to happen those who feel
the world is theirs, not ours, will gradually
destroy what keeps life good for all of us.
That’s why “kuy” is much the same as “we.”
To stop this is there something we can do?
The answer must be found by me and you.
Poem by: Martin Cobin
(Photo by Paula Palmer)
Special thanks to the Thomas D. Hormel Trust, the Samdhana Institute, and many others for their support for this campaign. And to Open (notclosed.com) for the design of our Prey Lang Action Kit and related materials.