Free forest guardian Clovis!

Malagasy environmentalist Clovis Razafimalala Fighting rosewood trafficking in Madagascar is a dangerous business. (© Anonymous - Montage Rettet den Regendwald - CC BY-SA 3.0)

The inhabitants of Madagascar are struggling to preserve what remains of their unique natural heritage. Last year, environmentalist Armand Marozafy spent five months behind bars for blowing the whistle on timber traffickers. Now his friend Clovis Razafimalala is being imprisoned on fabricated charges. Please call for Clovis’ release!

Call to action

To: the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina

Forest guardian Clovis Razafimalala is in jail on fabricated charges for fighting rosewood traffickers. Drop the charges and release him NOW.

Read letter

Madagascar’s nature is unique – half of all chameleon species and all of the world’s lemurs live there. A large number of the island’s plant species are also endemic – i.e., they occur nowhere else on the planet. However, 80 percent of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been destroyed. Every day, fires, cattle ranchers and illegal loggers are eating further into the remaining forests.

Madagascar’s public administration and police have been crippled by budget cuts since the coup against President Marc Ravalomana in 2009. Illegal loggers trafficking in rosewood have been taking advantage of the power vacuum and operating with impunity in Masoala National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The rosewood is mainly exported to China, where it is used for luxury furniture. The traffickers use the vanilla trade as a cover, leading to conflicts between the timber mafia and vanilla growers.

In September 2016, thousands of people demonstrated in Maroantsetra in the north of the island, demanding the release of a vanilla grower who had been arrested following a complaint by a timber trader. A 14-year-old boy was killed when the protest turned violent.

Clovis Razafimalala, a noted environmentalist, was summoned to the district office for questioning. He was ordered to put an end to the protest and was ultimately accused of having organized it, despite not having been present at the time. He was also accused of arson perpetrated during the demonstration.

Clovis was subsequently jailed, and friends fear for his life.

Please tell the Malagasy government to put stop to the timber mafia’s operations and call for Clovis’ release!

Back­ground

The Free Forest collective has appealed to the Malagasy government to secure the release of Clovis Razafimalala and the safety for all environmental activists. It is calling for an independent international investigation of Madagascar’s rosewood trade and the involvement of the authorities.

International pressure makes a big difference: Last year, we hastened the release of jailed environmental activist Armand Marozafy by delivering a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the Malagasy ambassador. Today, Clovis Razafimalala needs our support.

Further information:

Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA): Lost Years in the Fight Against Trafficking Malagasy Woods

The following links are all in French:

On Clovis’ arrest

Article de Madagascar Matin Affaire de Maroantsetra – Des adolescents de 14 ans arrêtés et envoyés à Toamasina !

Article de News Mada Maroantsetra : la population s’insurge contre les autorités

Article de Madagascar Matin Affaire Maroantsetra – Tirs groupés sur Besoa Eric !

On rosewood trafficking

Article du Monde Madagascar continue de fermer les yeux sur le trafic du bois de rose

Article de RFI Trafic de bois de rose à Madagascar: l'inquiétude des ONG

Article du Monde Trafic de bois de rose : ultime avertissement pour Madagascar

Reportage radiophonique de RFI Le trafic de bois de rose à Madagascar

Article du Monde Bolabola, le bois qui saigne

On the Lampogno coalition

Article de Ma-TV La coalition Lampogno : Pour une réouverture du bureau des douanes à Maroantsetra

Article de l’Observateur Trafic illicite de bois de rose. La coalition Lampogno Maroantsetra se mobilise

Letter

To: the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina

Dear Mr. President,

Clovis Razafimalala has spoken out against the trafficking of rosewood from Masoala National Park as a representative of the Lampogno environmental coalition. He was imprisoned for having allegedly organized a demonstration. This protest took place following the arrest of a vanilla grower who had come into conflict with a known timber trafficker.

For years, forests such as Masoala National Park have been suffering under illegal loggers operating with impunity.

Rosewood trafficking in the national parks is destroying a unique world heritage and the natural wealth of Madagascar. The trade promotes corruption, insecurity and unrest, and is damaging to the country as a whole. Last year, another environmentalist was jailed for five months on fabricated charges. Other activists report receiving death threats and experiencing actual attempts on their lives.

We call for the release of Clovis Razafimalala, protection for all environmentalists, and the establishment of an independent international commission to investigate the rosewood trade in Madagascar.

Sincerely,

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