An illegal shipment of endangered wood from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been found at a processing factory in the European Union, run by the controversial Swiss timber group Danzer.
Following international investigations by Greenpeace, the illegal load of endangered Wengé wood is suspected to be from the Bakri Bois Corporation’s (BBC) concession in the DRC’s Equateur province.
The wood was held in Antwerp port in Belgium for almost two months and Greenpeace then found it last week in the western Czech Republic.
"This case highlights the urgent need for the DRC government to improve and enforce the legislation in order to protect the forests, regulate the timber trade in the country and protect the rights of local communities," says Raoul Monsembula, Country Coordinator DRC, Greenpeace Africa.
- Infographic: The Journey of Illegal Wood from Africa, click here
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02 July 2013
Czech Activists Uncover Illegal Logs from DRC
Greenpeace activists uncover illegally logged Wenge wood and unfurl banners reading: ‘Forest Crime Scene’, at Danzer’s Bohemia Dýhárna premises in the Czech Republic. Greenpeace is calling on the Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture to take appropriate legal action and seize the illegal timber. This wood factory is a unit of the Swiss-based Danzer Group.
© Ibra Ibrahimoviç / Greenpeace
The timber has the markings of the BBC’s concession in Equateur province using an industrial permit, deemed illegal by the country’s EU-financed independent forest observer Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM), whose reports are approved by the DRC government.
Greenpeace has called on the Czech authorities to seize the timber and start investigations into the practices of Danzer. “If any governments in the EU turn a blind eye to illegal imports, forest destruction in areas including the Congo Basin will continue to be driven by our use of wood and associated products” says Danielle Van Oijen, Forests Campaigner, Greenpeace Netherlands.
“These forests are vital to help regulate our planet’s climate and to preserve biodiversity and the livelihoods of millions of people.”
The Danzer Group was recently disassociated from the certification system the Forest Stewardship Council for involvement in human rights violations in DRC following a complaint from Greenpeace.