18 April 2016

Attempted murder on Prey Lang Community Network member

This news is communicated by The Secretariat for Development Cooperation at SCIENCE from The Faculty of SCIENCE website (Danish).

It is less than half a year since the 25 years old Cambodian deforestation activist Phon Sopheak, together with the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN), was celebrated for their fight against deforestation in Cambodia, within the Prey Lang region. Phon Sopheak and PLCN was both celebrated at the UN Equator Prize during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, December 2015, where the Cambodian-Danish led project was selected as a prize winner, amongst 1.462 nominated climate projects from 126 countries. Further, she and PLCN were celebrated at University of Copenhagen in January 2016.

Phon Sopheak - second from the left - is celebrated at University of Copenhagen after the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015.

On the night of the 27th of March 2016, the UN award-winning activist has been seriously injured after she was attacked by an unknown person, while sleeping in a hammock, near Boeung Cha Village. Phon Sopheak have explained that the person hacked at her leg with an axe before making an escape. The attack happened on the last day of Phon Sopheaks patrol of the forest. She and the group of PLCN members were attempting to halt the actions of illegal loggers, and have explained that they had confiscated 35 chainsaws across the four provinces the forest covers, during this patrol.

It is not the first – and properly not the last – time that the members of PLCN in Cambodia have been attacked for their fight for deforestation within their region. Since 2002, 14 members have been attempted murdered in Cambodia.

Read more about this news at the Faculty of SCIENCE, UCPH, website (In Danish). For more information about PLCN, please read the news about the nomination at the UN Equator Prize; the celebration at University of Copenhagen and about the research project Community Monitoring of Forest Resources in Cambodia.