Johannesburg, 15 May 2013 - Greenpeace Africa condemns the decision of Belgian authorities to release a shipment that had been blocked until yesterday of what is believed to be illegal Afromosia timber from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The blocking of the shipment in the port of Antwerp of the endangered species of wood followed a tip-off from Greenpeace. Trade in Afromosia is regulated by the CITES Convention on endangered species. But CITES authorities released the 40m3 shipment from the Congolese Tala Tina company saying enough evidence had been found of its legality.
However, having reviewed the evidence and also having earlier discovered contradictory evidence including the lack of a legal logging permit from the third party supplier to the company, Greenpeace does not understand how the decision from the Belgian authorities was made and nor the reason why it was made.
“With this decision Belgium has put the interests of timber companies above the protection of Congo’s forests and the people that depend on them for their livelihoods,” says Raoul Monsembula, DRC Country Coordinator for Greenpeace Africa.
CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. CITES is implemented in the EU through a set of Regulations known as the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. In addition, a new EU law, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into effect in March. This new law prohibits the import of illegal timber and wood products in Europe.
In a recent report Greenpeace Africa highlighted how the DRC’s logging sector is in a state of organized chaos, with much of the illegal wood destined for Europe.
Read Greenpeace Africa’s report Cut it Out: Illegal Logging in the DRC,
For media enquiries contact:
Raoul Monsembula, DRC Country Coordinator, Forest Campaign, Greenpeace Africa +243 9990 10900,
Alexa Phillips, Communications Coordinator, Forest Campaign, Greenpeace Africa, +27 79 894 5277,
 According to the forest exploitation legislation in the DRC, an artisanal logging permit is delivered by the Governor of the province where the forest resides. The models of the permits are fixed by law. http://www.leganet.cd/Legislation/Droit%20economique/Code%20Forestier/AM.105.17.06.2009.htm
No such document signed by the provincial Governor has been presented. The document, which has been presented, has not the slightest resemblance to any of the models fixed by the law. Click here to view the permit (In French)
 For more information on the new European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), visit http://www.legal-timber.info/en/