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Call for urgent action to cut ties to logging companies in CAR

Just Forests is calling on the Irish government to supports the call by Global Witness that all EU member states and in particular Ireland should cut all trade and aid links to CAR’s logging industry with immediate effect.

17th July 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 17 July 2015

Contact: Tom Roche
Organisation: Just Forests
Phone: +353 (0)86 8049389
Email: tomroche@justforests.org


IRELAND MUST CUT TIES TO TIMBER COMPANIES IN CAR
Timber companies fuelled murder, kidnappings, rape and recruitment of child soldiers

Killarney, Co Kerry: Just Forests is calling on the Irish government to supports the call by Global Witness that all EU member states and in particular Ireland should cut all trade and aid links to CAR’s logging industry with immediate effect.

A new report – Blood Timber – released by Global Witness on 15th July, 2015, accuses the EU of failing to stop imports of illegal timber to Europe. The report goes on to state that European timber companies have helped fund the war in the Central African Republic (CAR) which continues to be a source of instability as the African country struggles to restore peace. The timber companies have supported the war through lucrative deals and corrupt payments to militia groups the report alleges.

“How many more scandals have to be unearthed before Irish timber companies and the Irish Government turn words into action and actually start sourcing timber responsibly,” Tom Roche, founder/coordinator of Irish forest campaigning group Irish Woodworkers for Africa T/A Just Forests.

According to the report Europe is complicit on three counts:

  Trade: European companies are trading with CAR logging companies, which in 2013 alone paid over 3.4 million euros to rebels so that they could continue logging illegally, at scale and for significant profit.
  Illegal imports: Europe is the premier destination for CAR wood, meaning EU member states are failing in their legal obligations to keep illicit timber off European markets.
  Donor aid: France has paid millions of euros in development aid to CAR’s logging companies, based on the flawed assumption that CAR’s logging industry contributes to local development. The EU is also pursuing a timber trade agreement with CAR that further benefits its logging industry.

"It is tragically ironic that while European governments invested hundreds of millions of euros in military and peacekeeping operations in CAR, those same governments have failed to keep conflict timber off EU markets," Alexandra Pardal, Campaign Leader for Global Witness said in a statement.

The logging companies under investigation preside over an area of CAR rainforest over two hundred times the size of Paris, and together account for 99% of timber exports from the country.

Global Witness investigations found that timber companies from France, the Lebanon and China made frequent payments to Seleka rebels – as bribes, to pass roadblocks, for armed escort, and for the protection of their logging sites, including a single transaction of nearly 381,000 euros by SEFCA to the new Seleka government right after the coup.

MORE about this report: https://www.globalwitness.org/reports/bloodtimber/

ABOUT Just Forests:
Just Forests bases its sustainability stories and activities on values-related and universally understood and time-tested, old fashioned ideas, such as love, family, community and citizenship. We are helping to create a just and sustainable world. www.justforests.org


ABOUT Ireland and the EUTR:
Ireland’s score in 2014 has dropped sharply since the 2012 barometer, and it now has one of the lowest scores in the EU. National legislation has been developed for the EUTR, and was awaiting signature of the minister and attorney general as of late April 2014, but no details were provided about the contents or the penalties that will be available. The competent authority (CA) appears to be inactive and currently lacking powers, though it has made some efforts to communicate on the EUTR to operators. No evidence was provided to indicate that any coordination is taking place between the CA and other relevant departments and agencies. Specific legislation to implement the FLEGT Regulation has been drafted but is not yet in force, and no timeline for this was given. http://www.justforests.org/government-barometer-2014

ABOUT Ireland’s love affair with Chinese Plywood:
See video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3rajFYd9gw


ABOUT Tom Roche:
https://about.me/tom_roche
 

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Irish Woodworkers for Africa Ltd. T/A Just Forests
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Phone: +353 (0)86 8049389  |  E-mail: info@justforests.org
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