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10,000 signatures for the Bialowieza primeval forest in Poland

10,000 signatures for the Bialowieza primeval forest in Poland

Petition with close to 10,000 signatures calls for an immediate stop to logging in the UNESCO-protected Bialowieza primeval forest in Poland.

BERN / SWITZERLAND) At 11:00 today, the Bruno Manser Fonds is handing a petition to the Polish embassy in Bern almost containing 10,000 signatures for the protection of the Bialowieza primeval forest. Those who have signed are demanding that the Polish government put an immediate stop to logging in Europe's last lowland primeval forest and place the entire forest under protection. Bialowieza is one of Central Europe's biodiversity centres and has been a UNESCO world natural heritage site since 1979.

The Polish Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko, justifies the logging as a preservation measure for the forest and as a means of fighting the bark beetle. Polish environmentalists, however, see the logging as being driven by financial motives and have been taking a stand against the logging since May through civil disobedience. They have repeatedly chained themselves to timber harvesting machines and trees, and have organised a protest camp.

At the start of July, UNESCO requested the Polish government to put an immediate stop to the logging in the Bialowieza primeval forest. At the end of July, the European Court of Justice ruled that the logging in this world natural heritage site had to stop. The Polish government is continuing the logging and failing to execute the ruling of the European Court of Justice.

Lukas Straumann, Managing Director of the Bruno Manser Fonds, has visited the Bialowieza primeval forest and the protest camp: "the tragedy unfolding in Bialowieza must come to an end. We expect the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss government) to put pressure upon the Polish government to stop the logging."

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by moxi