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Rimbunan violently rejects award for destruction

Rimbunan Hijau violently rejects Greenpeace ‘Golden Chainsaw' award for forest destruction

Port Moresby, March 31, 2006. Asia's biggest logging company, Rimbunan Hijau (RH), intimidated and detained six Greenpeace activists after they attempted to present them with a Golden Chainsaw representing the company's 30 years of forest destruction. Activists were harrassed by people inside RH’s Port Moresby compound and had to lock themselves into vehicles for their own safety. A cameraman was assaulted while attempts were made to seize his film and his camera was broken.

Greenpeace personnel and media were prevented from leaving the compound for 45 minutes. The cars and windows were pounded on and verbal threats made. The situation came to an end after police arrived and escorted Greenpeace staff and volunteers along with senior management from RH to the local police station. No charges were laid.

“All we wanted to do was peacefully deliver the Golden Chainsaw award and leave,” said Greenpeace campaign director, Danny Kennedy. “This type of reaction is uncalled for and reflects the way this company considers itself above the law.”

The Greenpeace Golden Chainsaw award is reserved for the worst forest destroyers in the world. It has been awarded twice before to companies in Brazil and Indonesia.(1)

“This award is a symbol of years of bad practice by RH here in PNG,” said Mr Kennedy. “They are responsible for destroying much of PNG’s natural heritage and many serious questions have been raised in relation to their dealings with local landowners.”

RH controls logging concessions in many parts of the developing world and is the largest logging company operating in PNG today, directly controlling 40 per cent of all log exports.

A 2003/2004 Review of Existing Concessions documented allegations of abuse of local landowners, including various forms of physical violence.(2)

“RH continues to operate with a disregard for the laws of PNG,” Mr Kennedy said. “Yet the PNG government has decided to grant them a new 791,000 hectare concession in Kamula Dosa, one of the largest pristine forest areas left in the country, despite their dismal track record.”

“We think that RH is a very deserving recipient of the Golden Chainsaw award,” said Mr Kennedy.

Delegates from around the world are currently gathering in Port Moresby for the ACP-EU meeting to discuss trade and development.

“We will be asking EU delegates to urgently implement legislation to stop illegal timber from companies like RH from entering the European market,” Mr Kennedy said.

© Scoop Media

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