If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

Not One More: Another Activist Silenced by Arrest in Madagascar

On May 15, Christopher Magnenjiky was arrested and charged with rebellion, civil disobedience, and “disrespecting a public officer.” Tomorrow, a judge is expected to make a decision regarding Christopher’s fate. Many fear that Christopher will join the long list of activists unjustly jailed in Madagascar – all because they challenge the activities of illegal timber barons and a corrupt government that protects them.

Christopher is now detained at the Maroantsetra central prison. His case closely resembles those of previous activists jailed in Madagascar, where obtaining access to supporting documentation for the arrest is close to impossible; unfounded charges including “rebellion” and “disrespect” are the meager justification for detainment; and the trial is kept as confidential as possible.

According to Amnesty International, the current detention of Christopher is itself unlawful. Tamara Léger, Madagascar Programme Advisor, explains: “While Christopher is still presumed innocent according to the law, he has already spent more than three weeks behind bars in the Maroantsetra prison and his request for temporary release was refused. This violates Madagascar’s own Constitution which provides that pre-trial detention must only be used in exceptional circumstances.”

Christopher is 46 years old and the father of four. He works as an English teacher at a local high school and is in charge of communications for the Lampogno Coalition, a well-known Malagasy environmental network. Clovis Razafimalala, coordinator of the Coalition and 2018 recipient of the German Africa Award, was jailed for 10 months last year in Madagascar. He says Christopher’s situation is mirroring his own: “Christopher is my colleague; like me, he is trying to help his people and protect our unique environment. And like me, he raised his voice against the rosewood traffic in Madagascar and so was arrested. I don’t want him to suffer what I suffered.”

Rosewood trafficking has become the world’s biggest wildlife crime, eclipsing elephant ivory, rhino horns, tiger skins, and pangolins. From Madagascar alone, millions of dollars worth of rosewood has been smuggled out of the country over the past decade. The 183 Member States of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) have repeatedly demanded that Madagascar focus its enforcement actions on the real criminals, the ones who profit from the illegal exploitation of irreplaceable forests and destroying the livelihoods of local, forest-dependent communities. To date, not a single timber baron has been jailed in Madagascar or held accountable for criminal activities. Instead, the very people who are fighting the crime are being sent to prison.

Awareness is growing around the globe regarding the dire fate that environmental defenders and their families face on the front lines every day — being silenced, threatened or murdered. The nonprofit REVERB, which harnesses the power of live music to create positive change for people and the planet, is shining a light on this travesty, highlighting the stories of three Earth defenders on the Maroon 5, Barenaked Ladies and Dead & Company tours this summer. Fans are writing messages of solidarity directly to Diana Rios from Peru, William Aljure from Colombia, and Clovis Razafimalala from Madagascar.

International pressure has helped to liberate and protect environmental and human rights activists in the past. Razafimalala remains hopeful: "I will not be defeated and I will continue to fight against all forms of injustice and abusive exploitation of our natural resources. I will give my life for the forest and Malagasy biodiversity because our future will depend on it."

Whatever the court in Madagascar decides tomorrow, the world is watching and people across the globe stand ready to defend Christopher Magnenjiky, along with the countless other defenders who are fighting to protect their way of life and world renowned biodiversity from corruption and greed.

Mr. Christian Ntsay took office this week as Madagascar's new Prime Minister. Ntsay should utilize his tenure to end the government’s corrupt patronage of criminals and vindicate those who are actually working to protect the country’s resources.

View all Blog Posts

Recent Blog Posts

Mukulagate
09/16/2021
While the coronavirus pandemic rages on, ravaging Zambia’s economy and crippling its citizens' lives, new findings by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) show that illegal exploitation and trade in mukula (Pterocarpus tinctorius) persists unabated, benefitting a small number of well-connected and wealthy individuals. A probing undercover investigation into illegal mukula logging and trade sheds light on the apparent theft of more than 10,000 trees and unveils information connecting the Zambia Agency For Persons With Disabilities (ZAPD), the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, and the office of the vice president. Nearly two years after EIA’s exposé on the institutional looting of Zambian forests, it appears that the more things have changed with the pandemic, when it comes to mukula, the more they’ve stayed the same.
Respaldo de Sociedad Civil a Defensora Ambiental en Perú
03/26/2021
60 instituciones y miembros de la sociedad civil y organizaciones indígenas en Perú emitieron hoy un comunicado respaldando a la Defensora Ambiental Lucila Pautrat ante los ataques que viene recibiendo de parte de una empresa investigada por la instalación no autorizada de monocultivos agroindustriales en Tamshiyacu, en la Amazonía peruana.

Recent Reports

The Lie Behind the Ply
06/30/2021
In an unprecedented investigation that connects threatened forests of Solomon Islands, China’s timber manufacturing hubs, and European importers, our new report The Lie Behind the Ply reveals how European consumers of tropical plywood have been the unwitting drivers of forest degradation. Our findings show that European companies appear to have imported thousands of tons of tropical-faced plywood, at high risk of containing illegal wood and in apparent violation of European law.
Tainted Beef
05/27/2021
A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals how beef sold in Colombian supermarkets is fueling illegal deforestation in protected Amazon forests and contributing to financing armed groups.

Recent Press Releases

US Company Pleads Guilty to Importing Illegal Timber from Peru
09/23/2021
US Company pleads guilty to importing illegal timber from Peru
The Lie Behind the Ply
06/30/2021
European Consumers of Tropical Plywood have been the Unwitting Drivers of Threatened Forest Degradation
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!