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Fiji NGOs Share PNG Concerns On R.D Tuna Operation

Media Release
22 October 2003

Fiji NGOs share PNG concerns on R.D Tuna operations

Foreign companies abusing the poor working conditions in the Pacific islands, ignoring local communities and damaging the environment, will risk boycotts and isolation of their products regionally and internationally, two Fiji-based NGOs said today.

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) was referring to the disturbing reports from the Kananam community in Papua New Guinea about the operations there of the Philippines-owned R.D Tuna company.

“Like the situation with PAFCO in Fiji, consumers cannot sit back and allow companies to get away with poor environmental practices, poor wages and working conditions, and the concerns of communities to the social impacts of their operations,” said PANG Coordinator Stanley Simpson.

“The region must stand united against both foreign and local operations that harm Pacific communities,” said ECREA Director, Aisake Casimira.

The Kananam community in Madang, PNG have formed the Idawad Association to protest the development of a huge tuna cannery on their land by R.D Tuna. Community leaders there have pointed out that:

- The R.D Tuna cannery and wharf facility are seriously polluting their lagoons, wetlands, water and air

- Workers are very lowly paid (less than US$2 a day) and union organizers have been sacked

- R.D Tuna ships are encouraging a prostitution trade in the Kananam community

- All senior managers are Filipino, and most of the profits are sent to the Philippines

- R.D Tuna pays no tax in PNG

The Kananam community has already launched a campaign to boycott R.D Tuna products which are sold under the labels Omega, Tovos, Loreley, Goddess, Cana, La Miranda, Adria, Everday, Diana, Le Pecheur, Le Doris, La PERLA, Osprey.

The company has responded with a smear campaign against the leaders and supporters of the Kananam community, in particular the Bismarck Ramu Group which has supported the landowners in their struggle.

PANG and ECREA also congratulates the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare for setting up an inquiry to look into the operations of R.D Tuna.

For more information please contact Stanley Simpson or Aisake Casimira on Phone (679) 3316 722 or e-mail: pang@connect.com.gj or manag@ecrea.org.fj

For direct information from the Kananam community please visit the Friends of Kananam website on: http://lorikeet.and.com.au/RD/rdtuna.html


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