Posts Tagged ‘illegal logging’

Defending the Monarch Butterfly in Mexico costs lives

February 7, 2020

Mexican authorities are investigating the death of an employee of one of Mexico’s largest butterfly reserves. Raúl Hernández Romero was the second person connected to the reserve found dead in less than a week. The first death was Homero Gómez González — an environmental activist and well-known defender of the Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve in the Michoacan state. The deaths have alarmed environmental activists and human rights defenders in the country.

Amnesty International said it is alarmed. Twelve environmental defenders were already killed in Mexico in 2019. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/30/in-2018-three-murders-per-week-among-environmental-human-rights-defenders/]. The World’s host Marco Werman spoke with Erika Guevara Rosas, director of Amnesty International Americas, about the killings. Marco Werman: Homero Gómez González was very well-known for his protection of the monarch butterfly in Michoacán. He administrated sanctuaries to protect the monarch butterfly. But he was also a protector of the environment. He denounced, many times, illegal logging in the area and the increased presence of groups of organized crime that were trying to take over certain territories and land and threatened the environment where these monarch butterflies arrive every year in Mexico. Erika Guevara Rosas: We get a nice sense of his commitment to what he was doing with a video he posted just last month on Twitter. He’s in his butterfly sanctuary and thousands of butterflies are swirling all around him. He’s pretty happy and proudly declares in his tweet that the sanctuary in Michoacan is the biggest in the world. It’s kind of a sad video in retrospect, shot a couple of weeks before Gomez Gonzalez was killed. [https://twitter.com/miblogestublog/status/1222901129199009798]

Hernández Romero’s death, “along with the death of Homero Gómez, demands immediate investigation and full accountability,” tweeted Richard Pearshouse, head of crisis and environment at Amnesty.

‘Horrific’, adding that Raúl Hernández Romero’s family says he received threats regarding his work campaigning against illegal logging in the weeks before he disappeared. El Rosario sanctuary provides a home for millions of migrating monarch butterflies each year and draws thousands of tourists annually. But the reserve has also drawn the ire of illegal loggers in Mexico, who are banned from cutting down trees in the protected area. Before the ban, more than 1,000 acres of the woodland were lost to the industry between 2005 and 2006.

https://www.wvxu.org/post/killing-environmental-activists-has-become-norm-mexico-activist-says#stream/0

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/03/horrific-human-rights-advocates-call-investigation-death-second-monarch-butterfly

Liberian environmental human rights defender Silas Siakor wins another award

February 6, 2019

Silas Siakor smiles as his received the Black World Prize to the Fraternity from the Spanish magazine Mundo Negro and Comboni Missionaries on February 2, 2019 in Madrid Spain 

James Harding Giahyue reports that Liberian Silas Siakor, founder of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and winner of the Goldman Environment Award, has added another recognition for his work in Liberia’s natural resource sector.

Siakor on Saturday received the Black World Prize from the Mundo Negro magazine and the Comboni Missionaries at an elaborate ceremony in the Madrid, Spain.  The groups said they gave Siakor the award (€10,000) for defending rural communities and nature against concession companies and politicians.

Silas Siakor stars in a fight against illegal logging and political corruption in his country, Liberia,” said the Mundo Negro in a statement on its website.  “His work highlights the desire and power of people who want to change the world, even if they sometimes face the interests of groups that accumulate money and power” .

Siakor in 2006 landed the Goldman Environmental Award, the world’s most prestigious environmental prize, for exposing the Charles Taylor-led government’s use of illegal logging to fund Liberia’s brutal civil war that left 250,000 dead and more than a million displaced.   He also won the Whitley Award for Environment and Human Rights; as well as the Alexander Soros Award for Extraordinary Achievements in Environmental and Human Rights Activism.

Siakor also stars in the 2017 80-minute film, “Silas” about his work, which has been screened at a number of film festivals across the world. The film Silas by Hawa Essuman and Anjali Nayar, chronicles the life of its eponymous main character in his fight over the years against convicted war-criminal Charles Taylor and the illegal deforestation and corruption in his native Liberia.

https://frontpageafricaonline.com/news/liberian-environmentalist-wins-top-international-award/

Losing faith in justice system in Thailand – good editorial in Bangkok Post

April 27, 2013

I am re-publishing this excellent editorial that appeared in the Bangkok Post of 25 Apr 2013 about the lack of protection for environmental human rights defenders in Thailand. If only more newspapers carried such succinct and clear opinions:

The rally in front of the Appeal Court on Tuesday by 300 residents from Prachuap Khiri Khan to demand transparency in the murder case of environment defender Charoen Wat-aksorn attracted scant media attention.That is not surprising at all as most mainstream media have lost interest in the case, which has dragged on for almost a decade since the victim’s murder on June 21, 2004, regrettably with justice yet to be served _ at least in the mind of Charoen’s widow, his friends and supporters. It is understandable why these rural residents had to travel from their hometown more than 200 kilometres away to gather in front of the court, albeit in a peaceful and civilised manner, to demonstrate their “reaction” against the courts recent acquittal of the last suspect in Charoen’s murder case, 51-year-old Thanu Hinkaew. Their presence in Bangkok was not meant to protest against the Appeal Courts acquittal but merely to seek an explanation from the court and to ensure the case would be treated with transparency when prosecutors appeal against the verdict to the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »