Washington, D.C., March 5, 2007 -- About 100 Cambodian schoolchildren have called on Khmer government authorities to put an end to illegal, widespread deforestation near their school district, 70 kilometers from the capital, Phnom Penh. The children ages 10 to 16, attend primary school in the Kompong Speu Oral District, which borders on a wildlife sanctuary.
The Voice of America’s Khmer Service reports the children have sent authorities scores of drawings and cartoons depicting the destruction: men wielding axes, chain saws, and machetes, felling trees, stripping the land clean, and killing elephants and other wildlife.
VOA’s Khmer Service has posted a sampling of the drawings on its web site: http://www.voanews.com/khmer/2007-02-28-voa2.cfm
Authorities in Cambodia say the drawings exaggerate the extent of damage being done to the environment. Officials report only a few cases of illegal logging by poachers.
Villagers tell the Voice of America that the children’s illustrated accounts are accurate, adding that the poachers carry machine guns and are members of the armed forces. Many adults and children have submitted petitions to government and non-government agencies asking them to end the destruction.
For more information on the Voice of America Khmer service, which broadcasts live to Cambodia 90 minutes every day, visit: www.voanews.com/khmer.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
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