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Logging threatens Cambodian tragedy - UN

Date: 06-Mar-03
Country: CAMBODIA

After visiting forest and farmland in northern Cambodia, U.N. special human rights representative to Cambodia Peter Leuprecht said a controversial concession scheme in which companies are granted rights to "sustainable logging" was clearly failing.

"If this process is not stopped, the country will face a human and economic tragedy which will affect the lives of not only the present but also future generations," Leuprecht told a news conference.

"These concessions are given in the name of development, but I'm afraid they are neither human nor sustainable development."

Leuprecht also expressed concern about the abuse of agricultural land concessions for large-scale projects such as the planting of rubber trees or cashew nut orchards.

"The main activity in many of the mainly agricultural concessions seems to be logging," he said.

Even most environmental groups accept that some logging has to take place in Cambodia, one of Asia's poorest countries with few other natural resources.

However, critics say much of the current activity appears to flout environmental and social regulations and rides roughshod over the rights and interests of the thousands of impoverished people who depend on the forests for their livelihoods.

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