Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of
finds logging company threatened newspaper
PNG correspondent Liam Fox
A judge in Papua New Guinea has slammed a Malaysian logging giant
for using the courts to threaten and harass a local newspaper.
In 2006 logging giant Rimbunan Hijau (RH) filed a defamation suit
against the Post Courier after it re-printed an article from the
Australian newspaper titled The rape of PNG forests.
other motions followed, but yesterday Judge Ambeng Kandakasi dismissed
them all, saying they were an abuse of the court process. He said
it was clear RH had used the proceedings to threaten, intimidate
and harass the newspaper and force it into unnecessary expenses.
judge said RH had used the court to "prevent and distract" the
Post Courier from reporting on its conduct in the forestry industry.
also ordered one of RH's lawyers, Michael Wilson, be investigated
for perjury after filing conflicting affidavits. Mr Wilson denies
has been unavailable for comment. It owns PNG's other daily newspaper,
The National, that has not reported the result.
2008 - Supreme Court rules RH logging rights illegal
the forest - Report of preliminary investigation into the security
issues on the West Papua/ PNG border. (Adobe PDF - 5.5 mb)
for sale - Email
RH Watch and order our Boycott Rimbunan Hijau watch stickers
PM praises SBS passport seizure November 2, 2004 - 6:54PM
New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says he is glad an
Australian journalist had her passport seized by PNG authorities
Television reporter Bronwyn Adcock had been compiling a report on
logging activities for the Dateline program when authorities seized
her passport on Friday.
a former journalist himself, said he was tired of foreign journalists
going to PNG and making trouble. He made the comments during a brief
sitting of parliament on Tuesday.
police questioned Adcock briefly after she had travelled to the
Western province to investigate alleged corruption in the PNG logging
industry. Officials confiscated her passport when she went to the
airport later on Friday. After two days of negotiations involving
SBS and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, Adcock's passport
was returned on Sunday and she left the country. "We have allowed
so many of these so-called journalists into the country to go around
making trouble," Somare said. "I'm very glad when they are stopped
from photographing or filming or doing anything in this country."
PNG's forestry industry has been accused of allowing illegal logging
to continue despite serious environmental consequences. The chairman
of PNG's Eco-Forestry Forum, Kenn Mondiai, said PNG's forests were
being destroyed and many logging companies were operating illegally.
year, PNG's Independent Review of Forest Allocations found illegal
logging permits had been issued by the National Forest Authority
and many logging operations were running contrary to the PNG Forestry
Act. Opposition MP Jamie Maxtone-Grahame said Adcock's detention
was an example of political leaders using police in unconstitutional
ways to achieve political ends. "We need to establish where the
constitutional duties of the police lie and the limits of political
authority over the police," he said.
was adjourned until Wednesday morning. There is speculation Somare's
coalition government will face a vote of no confidence in coming
report will air in Australia on Wednesday night.
Eco-Forestry Forum October 7th 2004
extremely concerned by increasing attacks on NGO members
PNG Eco-Forestry Forum is extremely concerned about the rising level
of attacks on NGO workers who campaign against illegal and unsustainable
logging. In the latest incident, last Friday evening, a senior NGO
leader was shot and is currently receiving treatment in Port Moresby
are working for peace and advocate for the human rights of all.
They have made a huge contribution to the development of our nation.
Yet we have seen an alarming increase in the frequency and seriousness
of attacks in the past 12 months” said a spokesperson for the Forum.
incidents include abductions and the false imprisonment of staff,
personal abuse and threats, vehicle and property thefts, criminal
damage and in one incident the wheel nuts on a car were loosened
causing a potentially fatal incident.
“It is too much of a coincidence to attribute all these attacks
to random acts of violence. A pattern has emerged where recent victims
have been individuals and groups who are at the forefront of the
campaign to stop illegal and unsustainable logging and in some of
these cases there are clear links to logging interests”.
violence on opponents of illegal and bad logging practices in PNG
is not a new phenomenon. Justice Barnett who headed the Commission
of Inquiry into the logging industry in PNG was stabbed and there
have been several suspicious fire bombings of Forestry offices over
the years. More recently community members in remote villages have
also been targeted. “There are many documented cases of logging
companies taking unlawful and violent action against local landowners
and even their own employees who protest about logging companies
practices” says the Forum.
Forum is also concerned about the failure of the police to act on
the many reported cases of human rights abuses where logging companies
are alleged to have been involved. “It is unfortunate that there
appears to be a high level of connivance between senior police and
the logging companies” says the Forum.
we acknowledge that law and order problems exist in our society,
it is shear cowardice for those who profit from the destruction
of our forests to exploit the current situation by attempting to
silent valid and legitimate criticism. These foreign ‘robber barons’
should not be allowed to terrorise civil society. The rule of law
and democracy are fundamental to genuine development and they are
of a successful nation”.
Eco-Forestry Forum October 7th 2004
The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum supports
integrated rural community development and sustainable resource
use through a viable and sustainable eco-forestry industry
Tel: 323 9050 Fax: 325 4610 Email: email@example.com
largest forest destroyer takes on environmentalists
16 September 2004
Sydney, - Greenpeace has received a letter from the lawyers of one
of the world's largest and richest retailers in forest destruction,
Rimbunan Hijau (RH). The Malaysian multinational logging firm with
operations in eight countries has threatened to sue Greenpeace International
over a report that highlights the company's destructive record.
letter demands an apology for the publication of the report "The
Untouchables - Rimbunan Hijau's World of Forest Crime and Political
Patronage". RH has also demanded that Greenpeace withdraw the report
from the public domain, and to supply them with a list of the recipients.
Greenpeace International has declined to comply with this demand.
is hoping that the threat of litigation will silence its critics.
But Greenpeace won't back down, nor will we retract any allegations
we have made. We're confident our report will hold up in court,"
said Jasper Teulings, Greenpeace International's Senior Legal Counsel.
in New Zealand, RH's local subsidiary, The LumberBank has taken
the Timber Importers Association (NZTIA) to court over an unprecedented
expulsion. RH is claiming damages and reinstatement after it was
ousted from the NZTIA in May on the basis that its logging operations
did not meet the NZTIA's code of practice.
threatening Greenpeace International in the Netherlands and the
TIA in New Zealand, RH thinks it can bury the damming evidence that
has been stacked against it," said Danny Kennedy, Greenpeace Australia
Pacific Campaigns Manager. "Until RH seriously changes the way it
operates in countries such as PNG, Greenpeace will continue to expose
the logging giant for the forest crimes they commit."
February of this year, Greenpeace published "The Untouchables."
a report that highlights the corrupt and destructive activities
of the Malaysian firm. RH dominates the logging industry in Papua
New Guinea and has interests in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia,
Vanuatu, Indonesia, New Zealand and Russia, making it one of the
world's largest forest destroyers. Many of these operations are
characterised by documented illegalities and environmental destruction.
It is alleged that RH uses tactics such as political corruption
and abuses of human rights within its operations.
view "The Untouchables" report go to www.greenpeace.org/RHreport
more information, please contact: Jessa Latona, Media Officer in
Sydney, + 61 2 9263 0314
Kennedy, Greenpeace Campaigns Manager in Sydney, +61 408 754 910
Sanchez, Greenpeace Media Officer in the Netherlands, +31 6 2700
Teulings, Greenpeace International Senior Legal Counsel in the Netherlands,
+31 6 2000 5229
07th September, 2004 Courier
them out' - Timber expert
Government should confiscate the machines of "unscrupulous Malaysian
loggers and throw them out" of the country, says Malaysian timber
expert Dr Freezailah bin Che Yeom.
former International Tropical Timber Organisation executive director
was speaking at the International Asia Forestry Partnership Conference
in Indonesia last week. "If they (Malaysian logging companies) don't
comply with the legislation and regulations, it is entirely up to
the Papua New Guinea government to deal with them."If
it means confiscating their machines, do so, or throw them out"
said Dr Che Yeom in response to PNG Eco-Forestry Forum chairman
Kenn Mondiai who presented the damning findings of the inter-agency
forestry review team after investigating 15 logging projects nationwide.
"Malaysia as a country cannot be blamed for all the problems of
poor logging and illegal logging related activities in other countries.
"It is the responsibility of the respective countries where Malaysian
companies operate to take action within the confines of their local
laws," Dr Che Yeom said The review allegedly uncovered widespread
abuses in the logging industry with unlawful permits and illegal
logging, gross environmental damage, labour abuses and a total lack
of government enforcement of laws and regulations.
Asia Forestry Partnership is an open voluntary forum where key players
in the region from government, the private sector and NGOs share
ideas to coordinate and develop collective actions plans to address
issues confronting the region and the global forestry sector. Over
150 participants from countries within in the region as well as
Africa (Congo Basin), Russia, USA and the United Kingdom (UK) attended
the international conference. Mr Mondiai was the country's sole
representative as the PNG Forest Authority and the timber industry's
lobby group Forest Industries Association failed to send anyone
to the conference. Mr Mondiai recommended that the international
meeting take up the issues he raised in his presentation.
2004. RH New Zealand dumped from trade association. The New Zealand
Timber Imports Association has drop RH subsidiary, The LumberBank
from its membership. The Association was outraged at reports of
RH involvement in illegal logging and other abuse in Papua New Guinea.
RH has responded with a law suit challenging their expulsion from
30th June, 2004 - Courier Post
sexual abuse uncovered
INTER-agency forestry review team has uncovered alleged sexual abuse
and discrimination and breach of Papua New Guinea labour laws in
two operations owned by Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau.
confidential reports - prepared by officers from the Departments
for Community Development and Labour and Employment - after field
trips to Rimbunan Hijau's Wawoi-Guavi and Panakawa operations in
Western Province in April and March, has among other allegations
revealed poor working conditions, sexual abuse and discrimination,
and breach of work permit conditions.
RH denied the allegations and said the two reports, which formed
part of the inter-agency forestry review team's draft report was
biased and harsh and failed to include their explanation of the
alleged anomalies, cited by the visiting review team.
Department for Community Development report among its findings noted
several "convenient marriages" allegedly between company expatriates
and local women, poor accommodation facilities with seven single
people living in one room and private business on the camp site
being restricted to expatriate workers.
department also noted alleged discriminatory practices governing
sexual relations between Papua New Guineans and expatriates, such
as an incident where two Malaysians were caught having sex with
local female workers with the two women later terminated from employment.
"Another case involves employees of Indonesian origin who had an
affair at the camp and the woman fell pregnant," the report said.
"Both had their employment contracts terminated. "There is allegation
by national female and male workers that the former boss (the only
national) of the personnel department was involved in organising
some national female workers to provide sexual favours to the expatriates
at the camp. "He physically abused females who refused to entertain
his request," the report said.
denied practicing "double standards" and said the two Malaysians
caught having sex with the two local women were sacked while the
Indonesian was sacked as per his mutual working agreement. The company
said it had a standing policy to control private sexual affairs
concerning national female employees within the factory but it has
found it hard to police because of workers' socialising activities.
17th June, 2004
RH 'consulted Kalinoe'
Hijau "consulted and sought" Chief Secretary Joshua Kalinoe's intervention
to stop the National Forest Board from terminating one of its timber
permits, a letter written by RH boss James Lau shows.
letter, dated April 28 by RH (PNG) Ltd managing director Mr Lau
and addressed to the National Forest Board chairman and Environment
and Conservation Secretary Dr Wari Iamo, showed an audacious attempt
by the Malaysian logging giant to stop the board from terminating
timber permit TP 2-16 for Vailala Block 2 and 3 in Gulf Province
operated by its subsidiary, Frontier Holdings Ltd.
letter was written in response to a submission by the government
forestry review team to the board, recommending that it terminate
the logging company's timber permit due to alleged breaches and
non-compliance with Papua New Guinea laws. These allegations included
TP 2-16 being unlawfully granted to Frontier Holdings Ltd, the latter
not being an appropriate company, the Gulf provincial forest management
committee report not satisfying sustainable resource requirements,
landowners' rights being denied due to their absence at the PFMC
meeting and outstanding social infrastructure not provided within
has denied all these allegations and said the review team failed
to give it time to respond. However, Mr Kalinoe yesterday said he
could not recall RH calling him to >seek his "immediate intervention"
but admitted meeting company representatives, the National Forest
Authority managing director and officials from the Prime Minister's
Department on April 23 to discuss issues relating to the controversial
project. "The meeting was instigated by myself, not the company
and arranged through the proper authority, notably the acting managing
director of the PNG National Forest Authority - not directly between
my office and the company. The meeting was arranged to facilitate
and hasten the conclusion of negotiations on the project agreement
for Vailala Block 2 and 3," Mr Kalinoe said to allay fears among
non-government organisations that logging companies had "direct
access" to the top echelons of government. He said Cabinet had directed
that negotiations relating to the Vailala project be concluded by
March 31, but they were behind schedule and the meeting was intended
to help the State negotiating team wrap-up talks with RH in compliance
with the law and the loan conditions of the World Bank's forest
and conservation project.
RH management, in a letter sent to the Post-Courier, apologised
saying >the April 28 letter "contained errors in vocabulary" as
an expatriate from a non-English speaking country drafted it. "We
further would like to emphasise the said letter was written under
very desperate circumstance due to a submission to the National
Forest Board, hence the lack of clarity," said the company. RH corporate
secretary J.K. Balasubramaniam said the company respected PNG's