In the midst of political chaos fomented by a Feb. 1 military coup of the government in Myanmar, the country’s forestry sector is seeking legitimization from the international community. A statement from the nationally privatized Myanmar Forest Products and Timber Merchants Association (MFPTMA), with an oddly business-as-usual tone, claimed timber exports are “trading legally and officially,” despite the armed takeover that came with a one-year expiration date. In response to the statement, the U.K.-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) refuted the notion that Myanmar is abiding by EU Timber Regulations (EUTR) and certification standards like EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). Fresh teak logs in Nongdao, Myanmar. Image courtesy of EIA. “EIA has for the past decade exposed the blatant theft of Myanmar’s forests, the high-level corruption that starts at the top of the military regime and the crimes committed in forest-rich areas upon which the people of Myanmar rely for their security and livelihoods,” EIA senior spokesman Paul Newman said in a statement last week. The one-year state of emergency imposed by the military has seen a host of civil society leaders detained — including officials from the National League for Democracy, as well as civilian leaders and activists. Communications have been sporadic after a virtual blackout at the start of the month. According to a statement sent after the coup and shared by the EIA last week, the MFPTMA says it wants international support to continue selling timber to EU countries. The statement includes vague references to…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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