In 2013, the Central African Republic made headlines around the globe when rebel insurgents seized power in a bloody coup. Today, armed militia effectively partition the country - guilty of killings, kidnappings, sexual crimes and the forced recruitment of children. But for many international companies it’s been business as usual.
Global Witness investigations have revealed that CAR’s trade in timber – the country’s number one official export – has assisted the war effort. Logging companies have paid millions of euros to armed groups to ensure that they can continue operating. Under the cover of conflict they have also been stripping out CAR’s rainforests.
Throughout this period, European companies have continued to offer CAR timber for sale on EU markets, which Global Witness believes violates the EU’s flagship timber law, the EU Timber Regulation. China is another major market for CAR wood, but has no regulations in place that could help halt the import of illegal or conflict timber.
We are calling on the international community including the EU and major importing countries to urgently address the financing of CAR’s conflict by logging companies, and the international trade that has allowed this to happen. We urge the UN to investigate these links, for the EU as a major trading hub to robustly enforce its EU Timber Regulation against importers of CAR timber, and for China to start regulating its imports.
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