Phnom Penh, 26 April 2012 — The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) strongly condemns the killing of Mr. Chhut Vuthy, President of Cambodia’s Natural Resources Conservation Group and a well-known environmental activist. Mr. Chhut was killed today as he was investigating a case of illegal logging in Koh Kong province. ADHOC urges the Cambodian authorities to immediately launch an investigation into his death and arrest perpetrators.
According to the information received, on 26 April 2012, Mr. Chhut travelled to Russey Chrum commune, Thmor Bang district, Koh Kong province to collect evidence about illegal logging in the Central Cardamom Protected Forest. He and two female journalists from The Cambodia Daily intended to take photographs of a place where illegal wood has been stocked. As loggers asked Mr. Chhut to shut down his camera, he refused and was shot dead on the spot. The two journalists were arrested by the military police. They were released later in the afternoon.
The Cambodian authorities must immediately launch an investigation into the killing of Chhut Vuthy, arrest perpetrators and prosecute them. ADHOC expresses deep concerns about the security of human rights defenders and community representatives, in particular those involved in the protection of land and natural resources. The Cambodian government must now demonstrate its commitment to protect both environmental activists and protected natural areas and hold those who are responsible for illegal acts to account, regardless of their rank or social standing.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of Monitoring Section: 011 274 959
Mr. Chan Soveth, Deputy Head of Monitoring Section: 016 667 373
Mr. Nicolas Agostini, Technical Assistant: 078 405 024