Madagascar: demand freedom for forest guardian Armand Marozafy!

Armand Marozafy

Armand Marozafy is committed to protecting the rainforests of his home, Madagascar, from illegal ebony and rosewood logging. He has been jailed for speaking out against rosewood traffickers. While Armand has been silenced, the chainsaws continue to wail. Speak out for his freedom now. For years, a handful of unscrupulous rosewood barons have plundered the rainforests of Madagascar, according to a briefing by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Not even national parks declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites are safe from the loggers.

Most of the ebony and rosewood is illegally exported to China, where a single cubic meter fetches around €22,000. The timber is used to manufacture carved luxury furniture. Madagascar outlawed the harvesting of rosewood and ebony and severely restricted its export in 2006. Nevertheless, at least 25,365 cubic meters – around 200,000 trees – have been exported to China since then.


Numerous senior officials and politicians are said to be involved in the lucrative business. According to media sources, even the current President and a former Minister of the Environment have received money from wealthy rosewood traffickers.


Armand Marozafy is a guide who shows ecotourists the natural beauty of his country, Madagascar. As the president of the environmental organization COSAP, he also fights for the preservation of the rainforests. On April 17, 2015, Armand was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of around €3,800. He is accused of reporting on two local businessmen he believes to be involved in rosewood trafficking in an internal email to a consultant specializing in fraud investigations.


According to human rights experts, the trial was a farce. The sentence was clearly intended to silence Armand and deter other environmentalists from speaking out.


Armand has appealed the verdict, yet he remains in prison. An alliance of environmental organizations is demanding his immediate release (in French). They are also calling on the Malagasy government to protect the country's rainforests.