It is one of the world’s biggest illegal land grabs, yet more than 5-years after the government promised to cancel the SABL leases and return the land to its customary owners, the people of Papua New Guinea are still waiting to hear which, if any, leases have been cancelled.
International and national civil society groups have welcomed the announcement that international experts will support government authorities crack down on tax evasion by multinational companies in the forestry and fisheries sectors. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is sending auditors to Papua New Guinea early next year to work with officials from the Finance Department and Internal Revenue Commission, under its Tax Inspectors Without
The appalling human rights abuses being suffered by the victims of the huge SABL land-grab in Papua New Guinea are the focus of a new report published today.
The SABL Land Grab: Papua New Guinea’s Ongoing Human Rights Scandal highlights the devastating impacts on people living in rural communities and gives a voice to those who have suffered the illegal loss of their land to logging and oil-palm plantations.
Community advocacy group ACT NOW! is calling on Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko to name the Special Agriculture Business Leases he claims have been cancelled.
“For the last five years we have heard numerous false claims and unfulfilled promises from the government about the cancellation of the leases”, says Campaign Coordinator Eddie Tanago.
“While we welcome the information released by the Minister, the pubic simply cannot trust his numbers and he must reveal the names of the leases and other details".
The government’s announcement of a so-called ’interim ICAC’ is an insult to the nation and an abuse of the ICAC name says community advocacy group ACT NOW!
ACT NOW! says an ICAC must be independent from government and free from any political interference, but, what the Prime Minister has announced, fundamentally fails both these tests.
Peter O’Neill and his government have been pledging to establish an ICAC since 2012 yet all that has been announced is a politically driven body set up to investigate political opponents.
Foreign owned logging companies could be defrauding the country of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues says community advocacy group ACT NOW! It is calling for a moratorium on any further logging licences until there is a full and transparent investigation and the cancellation of all illegal SABL leases.
The government has tried to bury and forget the SABL land grab scandal in which more than 5 million hectares of land has been stolen from rural communities.
It is using a well tested formula that we see employed almost every time a new corruption scandal is exposed:
First a long-drawn out official inquiry that is delayed by funding and other logistical problems.
Then a further delay before the inquiry findings are tabled in Parliament.
It is six years since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised the country an Independent Commission Against Corruption. Yet that vision is no closer to being realised today than it was in 2012, says Community Advocacy group, ACT NOW!
“Peter O’Neill has totally failed to live up to his promises in both the 2012 and 2017 Alotau Accords that the government would establish an ICAC”, says Campaign Coordinator Eddie Tanago.
Community advocacy group ACT NOW! is warning APEC delegates attending the current Food Security Week in Port Moresby that the Papua New Guinea government has a very poor record on protecting rural famers and supporting local agriculture.
“In PNG we have more than 1 million local farmers who feed more than 7 million people every day, yet the government continues to allow foreign corporations to steal their land for logging and oil palm plantations” says campaign coordinator Eddie Tanago.
Communities affected by three Special Agricuture Business Leases in the West Pomio District of East New Britain Province have assessed the economic damage caused by logging and oil palm planting at more than K2.4 billion.
The damages assessment has been compiled by seventeen communities that have lost 42,400 hectares of customary land under the Pomata, Ralopal and Nakiura leases.