Local communities affected by the proposed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang have filed a formal complaint in Washington about the role of the International Finance Corporation in promoting the project and in developing Special Economic Zone laws in PNG.
The communities have filed their complaint with the International Finance Corporation Ombudsman. The IFC is a part of the World Bank Group which is based in the United States.
The complaint, which has been formally endorsed by over 100 landholders and is supported by many more, alleges there has never been any proper consultation with landholders about the PMIZ and they have never given their free, informed consent to the project.
The complainants say that when the project supporters did finally visit some communities it was not to consult the landholders but rather to tell them what was going to happen.
The landholders also say they have already suffered enough from the environmental damage, foul smells and social problems caused by the existing RD Tuna factory and do not want more tuna canneries on their land.
The compliant also says the IFC has been involved in drafting legislation to allow tax free Special Economic Zones in PNG which are not in the interests of the majority of people and will not improve their social conditions.
The PMIZ is also opposed by local MP Ken Fairweather who says it will cause the environmental destruction of Madang Lagoon and the complete depletion of tuna resources and other fish species.
Local landholders have also filed a court action opposing the PMIZ and have asked the court for a temporary injunction preventing any further construction work until their case is resolved.