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Chut Wutty Killed

About the situation

On 26 April 2012, Mr Chut Wutty was shot dead in Koh Kong province. Chut Wutty is the founder and director of Natural Resource Protection Group.

About Chut Wutty

Chut WuttyFormer deputy director of Global Witness in Cambodia, Chut Wutty founded the National Resources Protection Group (NRPG) in Mondol Seima district, Koh Kong province working to protect the forest and natural resources of Cambodia. Chut Wutty was one of the most prominent anti-logging and land rights activist in Cambodia. Speaking out against land grabbing and corruption by the government and big businesses, he exposed a secretive state sell-off of national parks, by which the government was granting so-called economic land concessions to companies, allowing them to develop land in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

30 April 2012
Killing of human rights defender and environmentalist Mr Chut Wutty

On 26 April 2012, Mr Chut Wutty was shot dead in Koh Kong province. Chut Wutty is the founder and director of Natural Resource Protection Group.

Natural Resource Protection Group (NRPG) is a civil society organisation that works to protect environmental rights and monitors illegal logging. Chut Wutty advocated tirelessly against the ongoing destruction of Cambodia's natural resources.

The incident reportedly occurred at 12.30pm in Koh Kong's Veal Bei commune, Mondul Sima district. It is reported that the military police and soldiers detained Chut Wutty and two reporters from The Cambodia Daily and confiscated their cameras. Chut Wutty had been taking photos of suspected illegal logging activity near the border between Pursat and Koh Kong and in the Central Cardamom Protect Forest area. It is also reported that a military officer, Mr In Rattana, was also killed, although there are conflicting reports about this incident. Mr Chuon Phiran, a prominent environmentalist and a nephew of the human rights defender, stated that Chut Wutty received a fatal shot and died in his car.

Chut Wutty has been subjected to threats in the past as a result of his work in the area of human rights and environmental protection. In 2001, he was threatened by a military commander who said he would kill him for his role in the Conservation International team, which was monitoring illegal logging in the Cardamom mountain. Chut Wutty had to flee his hotel and rent a boat in the middle of the night to ensure his safety.

In 2011, he was again threatened with arrests and criminal charges as a result of his work in raising awareness on the destruction of Prey Lang forest in the Northeast of the country. In August and September 2011, civilian and military police armed with AK-47s disrupted two trainings that he was conducting with the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights in Kampong Thom province for community members affected by the forest destruction.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the killing of Chut Witty and believes that it is solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities, especially his leading role in protecting community and environmental rights.