Environmentalist has become one of the most dangerous job titles around the globe. Rapid development and the hunger for commodities is fueling demand and illegal harvesting of a broad variety of natural resources. Just as poaching of elephants and rhinos is driving some of our most unique species to extinction, vast forests are being consumed for timber, faming and quick profits. The UN human rights office has highlighted last week’s murder of outspoken Cambodian environmental activist and human rights defender, Chut Wutty, who had worked fearlessly to expose illegal logging and corruption in the country. See our Blog for Film – “From Ethiopia to Venezuela , Civil Society Under Assault”
Mr. Wutty was shot and killed April 26, 2012 in south-western Cambodia. “Despite the current lack of clarity about what exactly happened, we are very concerned that the killing of Mr. Wutty marks the latest and most lethal in a series of gun attacks on human rights defenders in Cambodia,” Mr. Rupert Colville of OHCHR told reporters. The OHCHR office in Cambodia has, since the beginning of the year, investigated four other cases involving the use of live ammunition against communities and human rights defenders, which resulted in a number of injuries, he added.
Mr. Wutty’s killing occurred in a forest in Koh Kong Province where, accompanied by journalists, he was gathering evidence on illegal logging. The OHCHR office in the capital, Phnom Penh, dispatched a team to the province two hours after the shooting to investigate the incident. It visited the site of the shooting, interviewed residents and monitored the post-mortem examination of the bodies.“We welcome the fact that the authorities have commenced investigations into Thursday’s shooting, including a military investigation,” said Mr. Colville, noting that OHCHR has urged the Cambodian Government to ensure that a full civilian judicial investigation proceeds quickly and with utmost probity and independence. “We also urge the Government to take concrete and immediate measures to ensure the safety of all witnesses and investigators as well the families of the deceased men.” See our Blog for Video -“No Arab Spring for Environmental Rights & its Defenders”