More than 230 leaders and other clan members from the Ibab, Tring Wau, Kamasau and Murai villages in the Turubu and Sausso LLG areas of East Sepik say they are opposing any further and logging activities in their forests. They are petitioning all appropriate authorities to completely stop what they say is continuous illegal logging activity on their land.
Copies of the petition, which is reproduced below, have been sent to Summit Agriculture, the PNG Forest Authority, other government agencies, national politicians and the provincial government.
SUBJECT: STATEMENTS AS PETITION ON CURRENT CONTINOUS LOGGING IN TURUBU AND SAUSSO LOCAL LEVEL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL AREAS IN EAST SEPIK PROVINCE.
The effects of Climate Change is bombarding the livelihood of people worldwide. It is a rising global issue which many concerned charitable scientists, experts, people in all walks and works of life are concerned about reducing it. It is a global concern and issue which literate people must absorbed and practically involved to minimize and reduce the emission of carbon. The front line practical activity for people who owned forest are to refuse logging and mitigate secondary forest and grassland areas.
The only positive approach and mechanism to assist in reducing current global warming is to mitigate natural forest and planting of more trees.
Turubu Eco Forestry Development Program Inc. is a Community Based Non-Government Organization established to embark on;
- defending and protecting the legitimate landowners traditional ownership rights over their land and natural resources
- ensuring that sustainable development is executed when management of extractive industries such as logging, mining palm oil activities and etc opted to bring developments into customary owned lands.
- ensuring that prior informed collective decisions are obtained from customary landowners and use of land agreements are signed in the villages in the eyes of ALL citizens.
- ensuring that monetary benefits are reaching all land owners.
Above are some expectations this Community Based organization is embarking on however there are many more to write as expectations.
This is a petition to inform the Management of SUMMIT Agriculture Development Limited and its assisting agents who compromised and made it possible for illegal logging operation to continue despite stoppage decision from National and Supreme Court of independent and sovereign nation Papua New Guinea.
National and Supreme Court Decisions
National Court in its decision on 4th July, 2014 stated that SABL 144c be cancelled and land acquired in pretext of SABL be given back to the people. Furthermore, logging activity be also cancelled. However, the defender appealed by obtaining Stay Order to pursue further to Supreme Court. The ultimate decision by Supreme Court in September, 2016 uphold the decision made by the National Court. This ultimate decision is for the entire customary landowners and people of Turubu and parts of Sausso that land is given back to them.
The continuation of logging activity without obtaining collective consultative decision from legitimate customary landowners is violating the decision of the country’s Higher Courts.
Prior Informed Collective Informed Decision.
Customary land in Papua New Guinea is typically owned by clan and not an individual or individual family. To obtain customary land for any monetary developments, collective informed decision has to be made by all clan members. PNG National Goals and Directive Principles no. 4 clearly stipulates that ‘natural resources and environment to be conserved for the collective benefit of everyone and be replenished for the future benefit of future generation’.
Ibab, Wandomin and Tring villages owned massive hectares of abundant and pristine forest filled with beautiful natural flora and fauna. Their identity and connectivity in practicing cultural and traditional rituals still exist. It often been a weekly practice and obligation to use forest as a shopping mall to provide protein. This report is more based on the agriculture and illegal logging activities in Turubu Local Level Government area and parts of East Sepik Province that continued despite orders from country’s Highest Courts.
To be more specific, this petition is petitioned to stop acquiring of customary land from Ibab, Tring and neighboring villages of Kamasau, Wau and Murai. The process of acquiring customary land from Ibab and Tring villages to capture extra land for logging and extending palm oil planting has violated the decision made by the National Court on 4th of July, 2014 and Supreme Court in September, 2016. The process of obtaining the consent to acquire the land does not serves the best interest of majority of each clan members. There has never been any consultative clan meetings held in each of these mentioned villages to get informed collective decisions from majority of clan members. Based on the consultative meeting, the consent be either given or denied. This process of prior arrangements had never been sought since the practice of illegal logging started in each of the affected clans of these two villages.
This information was gathered by Turubu Eco Forestry Development Program (TEFDP) a Community Based Organization after visiting these villages on 20th of July, 2018.
Activities after Highest Courts’ Decision and Orders
For Turubu and parts of Sausso in East Sepik Province, the introduction of SABL concept in 2008 has also attached logging activity. In reality, the SABL Portion 144C was the damaging catalyst. The peoples’ voice to cancel the SABL Portion was challenged in the National Court and the highest legal court, the Supreme Court. The outcome decision made by National Court on 4th July, 2014 favored the Land Owners to cancel the Portion 144c. The Stay Order appeal by the respondent to Supreme Court was not considered. The Supreme Court uphold the decision made by the National Court In September, 2016. The ultimate decision made by National Court which the Supreme Court uphold was that SABL Portion 144c quashed and null and void.
The current continuous illegal logging is occurring in Tring, Ibab, and Wandomin in Turubu LLG, Mundomundo in Angoram District and up headwaters of Ambunti District. The above named villages owned very dense rainforest accommodating varieties of species of flora, fauna and unseen human-like beings. AII these naturally intact forest beauties are gone without considerable thoughts for protection.
People do not know and understand the actual name of the logging company that is engaged in this destructive illegal logging activity. The names are frequently changing. How would we identify the name of the person or group who sought all possible arrangements and negotiations for this illegal logging activity which commenced in 2010 and continued till today. It is assumed that Malaysian-owned Summit Agriculture Limited carried out most logging under forest clearance permit FCA 11-101 covering entire Turubu forested land areas.
Those that involved in enabling this current continuous of illegal logging are disobedient to the orders of PNG’S HIGHEST COURTS. PNG’s Constitution Directive Principal No. 4 is mocked and has no legal effect. Despite the decision made by the highest Court of Papua New Guinea, the logging activities continued. The genuine customary land owners are frustrated.
The people who obtained the Forest Clearance Authorities or whatever documents from the National Forest Authority did not obtain collective informed decision from the customary land owners. People are obviously scared to stop this logging activity for they fear the policemen attached to the logging company. There was absolutely NO consultative awareness conducted between logging company and the legitimate customary landowners.
Customary patches of land in villages of Turubu are owned by clan members and not by one person or one family. In practical reality, the local Directors of Wewak Agriculture Limited (Asian owned company) negotiated with land owners who have USERS RIGHTS and or one person from the clan to give consent for logging without informing other clan members. Most customary land in Ibab and Tring villages were grabbed, ripped and raped in this manner. The quantity of destruction is severe and quality is damaging the entire biodiversity. Once were rich rainforests with abundant flora and fauna now has wide zigzag network of wide roads, so many off-cuts of fallen unwanted trees are seen lying in the forest and blockage of waterways in streams and rivers.
This is a Forest Crime and need to be investigated by above authorities such as PNG Forest Authority, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Lands and Physical Planning and other associated agencies.
Indigenous customary clan leaders and land owners from Ibab and Tring Villages will really appreciate if the authorities mentioned above to have conference with them in the village to receive their grievances. Furthermore, after the audience, the representatives from the authorities visit the different logging sites to see the quantity and quality of destructions and damages to the land and its rainforests. This was the demand agreed by clan leaders and people from these villages during a land owners gathering on 20th of
July, 2018 in Tring village. This gathering was organized by Turubu Eco Forestry Development Program a Community Based - government organization to get consent from people to stop logging in Segi tribe area.
Land is most VALUABLE PROPERTY for Segi tribe people. It is their identity to source power and cultural heritage. Therefore the clan leaders and majority of people from SEGI Tribe comprising villages from Kamasau, Murai, Tring, Wau and Ibab assumed and viewed that current continuous logging is illegal because;
Lack of Collective, Consultative, Informed Consent
- Awareness was not conducted in villages to get proper collective informed consent from clan leaders and their people as they are customary custodians of their traditional land. Logging is an extractive industry, therefore consultative gathering involving all clans and community members to consent the land must take place.. The bond understanding is signed on the Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement knowing the content in front of the people who gathered. Photos or video extracts are taken as evidences. All agreements are NOT to be signed out of village vicinity.
- Mapping to indicate the patches of land for logging were not indicated.
- Surveyors from Department of Lands and Physical Planning were not involved in surveying before
actual illegal logging operation commenced.
- Identity of logging company was not known.
- Names of people who negotiated to obtain the FCA and other documents permitting this current
illegal logging activity is not known.
- Names of local people who negotiated with the logging company and obtained consent for logging
activity previously and currently is not known.
- The value of monetary benefits given to these local benefactors was not known.
- People of these villages have three local registered Land Owners Associations and have plans to
use their land and forests sustainably. Each of the clans are at premature and mature stage to form clan-based Incorporate Land Groups (ILGs). However, the sudden intervention of logging company completely disturbed and disrupted their working plans. Few of the village people, particularly people who have Users Rights were interested in monetary benefits and therefore negotiated with representatives of logging company to do logging activities under the name of other ILGs from other villages. Executives of these Community Based Local Associations cannot implement their plans. Instead their plans were put aside and took the illegal logging activity issue before the court. And while the dispute at mediation and District Court, logging activity continues. Truly, the clan leaders and members travelled frequently to Wewak to attend to land issues spending lot of money for transport and refreshments. They have little time to work on daily activities for food and money for children’s school fees and livelihoods.
These villages in Segi tribe have not had any clan based registered ILG as yet. Consequently, the clan leaders and clan members wanted to know which ILG is permitting this illegal logging activity for continuation.
- The quantity and quality of severe destruction and damages to the natural environment is devastating. It is unfit to accommodate natural habitats for peoples’ livelihood. The traditional forest as shopping mall is gone. People will change to adapt to new ways.
- Wide roads built in and out everywhere destroying birth places for cassowaries, birds, wild fouls crocodiles and other natural habitats.
- Improper selection of logs for cutting. There were undersize logs not recommended for cutting and others unwanted were left as waste.
- Traditionally most important destruction of TUMBUNA birth places, sacred sites, herbal trees, traditional villages, birth places for animals like cassowaries other identification locations for clans.
What are Our Demands?
- That no more Logging on Segi Tribe’s land. Part of proposed land for protection and conservation into Wild Life Management Area is destroyed. What is left now is a approved and established Mojurau Wild Life Management Area and other proposed Protection and Conservation areas for Wild Life Management areas and assist to Reduce Emission from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD+). The Department of Environment and Conservation has track record of Mojurau Wild Life Management Area. The current continuation of illegal logging is a threat to this known WMA and its neighboring proposed forest areas for protection and conservation.
There are only surviving big and green river frogs from extinct in this natural forested areas. Also, seen and noticed are arrival of tree kangaroos flowing via Torecelli Range. No other parts of the world have these frogs and tree kangaroos. If the logging activity continues, there will be no more survival of these frogs and disappearance of incoming tree kangaroos. Therefore the current illegal logging activity will stop at Tring and no further for extension.
- That without the collective informed decision obtained from the genuine and legitimate customary land owners, the people with Users rights have claimed compensation as royalties. There are no practical evidences to prove that the monetary benefits from logging activity have reached village people eradicate poverty and improve the standard of living. Therefore other monies available such as premium and levies be diverted and given to rightful clan leaders and members and levies to the Ward Development Committees in each ward of Segi tribe.
- That executives of the Logging Company to meet with clan leaders of Segi Tribe villages, in a central location and inform people on;
- Whose or which ILG was used for this logging activity?
- Who from Tring and Ibap village are the signatories to give the consent
- Who from Tring and Ibab village negotiated and arranged to consent decision for logging
- Who from Tring or Ibab or others negotiated and arranged to obtain Forest Clearance
Authority and other unknown documents paving way for logging activity?
- What is/are the name(s) of the logging company/ companies operating this illegal logging
activity and why changing names?
- Who negotiated and obtain the Forest Clearance Authority and other documents from National Forest Authority to operate logging activity?
- How many FCAs were obtained?
- Who were the line of monetary benefactors?
- Who financed the establishment of Palm Oil Factory project? Where was the moneycoming from? Is the money from sale of logs?
- Are the genuine and legitimate customary landowners going to be compensated for destruction of their natural forested land areas during the cause of logging operation.
4. That within the boundary of Tring village land, most of their grassland has been used up for oil palm planting without their consultative consent. At pre development stage, the Directors of abandoned Limawo Holdings Limited illegally consented to acquire their grassland owned and have planted palm oil. The issue was brought before the lands mediation team. While the dispute was in for further mediation, the logging continued on Tring forested land to acquire more hectares for oil palm planting.
Therefore, there won’t be any more acquiring of land and extension of logging activity. The current grassland with palm oil planted, be brought for mediation to find rightful ownership.
Oil Palm is only to be planted on traditional known grasslands and not acquiring forested land from Ibab and Tring Villages.
5. That officers from National Forest Authority, East Sepik Provincial Forest Authority, Department of Environment and Conservation (CEPA), East Sepik Provincial Government, Wewak District Administration, Turubu Local Level Government Council and Operating Logging Company to visit the logging activity areas and see for yourself the value of destructive quantity and quality on the land and its forest. Is it a crime committed to the forest, its natural habitats and for the people?
6. That the forested areas destructed are NOT to be used to acquire land for extension of Palm Oil planting. Leave this destructed portion of lands for rebirthing of secondary forest. Provide to us monetary alternatives and options to reforest, re-vegetate and rebirth our lost natural generation forest with native trees for our children and future generation to use. It enable us, our children and future generation to remember the local names for important traditional sites, other sites and river ponds lost during the logging activity.
May this activity be done to assist in reducing and mitigating the effects of climate change?
7. That we now want legal assistance to;
. re-visit the National Court to justify the legality of the continuous logging activity is complying to the laws of environment , forest, lands and others or breaching the orders from National and Supreme Court. If it is breach of order from Highest Courts of our constituted independent country, then Contempt Charges be imposed on Management of the Company, Directors of the Company and the village people who invisibly involved in negotiation for obtaining consent. If these people are found guilty of committing criminal or civil crime, may they be sued to face the
full court of justice. The ultimate decision by the court will decide whether to claim compensation or not.
8. That there will NOT be any more of road connections and logging activity passing out from Tring village to Wau, Kamasau, Murai and to the coastal villages.
9. That allowance is given to plant oil palm on only grassland areas via consultative discussion and obtaining Free, Prior and Informed Consent from genuine customary landowners. NO discussion, NO planting of oil palm. The fundamental point of discussion in this petition is NO more logging activity on Segi tribe land.
10 .That previous road built connecting Turubu Nightangle Bay and Oil Palm project site be replenished. Use this replenished road as route of transporting finished products after `processing `from the factory. Compensate the customary land owners from Turubu Nightingale Bay whose natural habitat was destroyed during the process of operation to build the jetty.
The actual logging activity commenced in 2013 on Tring and Ibab villages’ land forests. The genuine customary landowners did not give their consent for the logging company to harvest logs on these clans’ lands. Consequently, the management of Summit Agriculture Limited to meet, discuss and identify the legitimate customary landowners and COMPENSATE them accordingly. These are the names of clans in the order of commencement and ongoing with illegal logging practices;
- Wurori clan of Tring village – 100% logged
- Rhandi clan of Tring village – 100% logged
- Irembo clan of Tring village– about 50% logged
- Buqi clan of Tring village – 10% to 20% logged
- Puangre/Nyumbam clan of Tring village– 100% massive destruction including sacred sites,
traditional villages, old cemeteries and animal breeding locations both in the forest and on the grassland. The whole Rhombi grassland which accommodated an ancient history, ‘The Origin of Fire’ was used for planting oil palm.
- Wurkumo clan of Tring village– the most scared land and its forest that accommodates wild species of all kinds of habitats now pitifully disappeared. 100%+ destructed.
- Pughari clan of Ibab village– the value and quantity of destruction is same as Wurkumo clan.
- Muaqu clan of Ibab village– the value and quantity of destruction is same as Wurkumo clan
- Ibab clan of Ibab village– the value and quantity of destruction is same as Wurkumo clan.
Wurkumo, Pughari, Muaqu and Ibab clans’ lands shared the land boundaries and are home of wild life species of habitats named Kimangi.
The concerned customary and legitimate landowners from Ibab and Tring villages unanimously agreed that there shall be NO MORE acquiring of land for extension or plan to acquire the exploited land for other monetary projects. Let all the exploited land areas as they are to rebirth into secondary forest. While waiting for the land areas to rebirth, each clan will make their own clan-based Incorporated
Land Groups and cautious ‘Land Use Plan.’ Land is traditionally owned by clan, consequently, collective informed decision has to be sought from a clan’s meeting.
It is always a humanistic approach when a person approaches a developer for monetary development on his/her land, the developer has the sensible duty and understanding to travel to the village and ask to collect views and collective informed decision decisions from the clan members. This open approach dialogue has not exist practiced between people from Tring, Ibab and the logging developer.
It is only one family from Tring and Ibab that is negotiating with you and consenting for logging activity. True customary and legitimate land owners are here protesting and petitioning you and to have a meeting with you to discuss all that is written above and shown in the photographs.
LAND IS LIFE FOR EVERYONE AND USE FOR EVERYTHING. There are so many deadly social issues now in both villages among immediate family units. These issues are serious that we today are confronting and our children and generation will too. All clan members and leaders are upset to notice and see these existing issues. These issues aroused from self- interest and lazy individual who consented decision to exploit clans’ land for monetary benefits without obtaining bond agreements from rest of the clan members.
Please read this thoroughly and comply by meeting the landowners in the village so that ALL women, men, youths and children from the Segi tribe will participate.
I am writing for and on behalf of silent citizens of Segi tribe, and as a Tring village citizen and customary landowner, whose natural forest was completely exploited and destroyed (100%) commencing in 2012 to 2018.
I fully anticipate to hear from you. Yours Sincerely,
Director of Turubu Eco Forest Development Program Inc. and Customary Landowner of Segi Tribe. (Tring Village)