Target: President of the European Council, Donald Tusk
Goal: Stop trade and donor aid to Central African Republic’s corrupt logging industry.
The European Union has been financing logging companies that bankroll mass murdering rebel groups in the Central African Republic (CAR). This money facilitates instability in the region, funding a civil war that’s been destroying CAR for the past two years. European companies trade with CAR’s logging industry and buy their illegal timber, while France gives them millions in development aid. This money goes into the hands of the Seleka regime, who are notorious for mass murdering villages, forcing children into recruitment, and raping women.
In 2013, the insurgent group Seleka overthrew the government of CAR in a coup d’état, or sudden forced seizure of a region. Since then, over 5,000 people have died and millions have been displaced. In their first year of power, the rebel group had already forced 6,000 children to serve as their soldiers. The logging companies pay millions of euros to Seleka rebels as bribes to ensure they can continue their illegal logging in the war-torn region. The rebels use their bribes to buy weapons, and in return provide protection to the logging companies.
Since the conflict began, timber has replaced diamonds as the largest and most profitable export in CAR. The lucrativeness of blood diamonds has shifted to blood timber, according to the international non-governmental organization Global Witness. They conducted undercover investigations into the CAR logging industry and the European companies who profit from it. They found that European companies are not being deterred by wartime trading and that CAR’s logging industry has seen a growing profit since the conflict began.
Urge the European Union to abide by its own laws of keeping illicit timber off the market and demand that it stop trading with and providing aid to CAR’s logging companies by signing the petition below.
Dear President of the European Council Donald Tusk,
The European Union’s trading with the Central African Republic’s logging companies is enabling violence in the region. Selling their timber in your markets is illegal by the EU’s own standards. The EU has invested hundreds of millions of euros for peacekeeping missions in CAR and sent its own troops to try and stop rebel groups, yet the EU continues to fund these same insurgents.
CAR’s logging industry profits a small elite and bankrolls mass murderers. Providing logging companies with donor aid is not contributing to local development, but rather facilitating local instability. Global Witness’ investigative reporting has shown that CAR’s logging industry makes frequent payments to the Seleka rebels to gain protection and access. The euro is being used to pay warlords to continue kidnapping, raping and murdering innocent civilians and forcing children into recruitment.
If you truly want to contribute to peace in CAR, stop this harmful trade. Please cease all trade and aid links to CAR’s logging industry, which is in bed with the Seleka rebel group.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: hdptcar