Armed Police End Peaceful Greenpeace Protest
Paia, Papua New Guinea, 6 September 2008: Greenpeace’s successful crane-top protest on the logging ship Harbour Gemini ended peacefully when six police armed with M16 rifles removed the activists. Other Greenpeace activists were painting “Moratorium Now” and “Stop Illegal Logging” on log transfer barges beside the Harbour Gemini when the armed police arrived.
Pressure had been mounting on Turama Forest Industries (TFI), a group company of Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau, after hundreds of indigenous resource owners conducted peaceful protests at three logging camps and Greenpeace activists stopped the ship loading illegal logs three days ago.
After ignoring the resource owners concerns for thirteen years, TFI appears to have taken notice and promised a review of the logging agreement for the Turama Extension, a concession covering 1.7 million hectares.
“This is a small step in the right direction, and we will be watching the review process to ensure it is done in an open and transparent way that delivers a just outcome for resource owners, and that TFI follows PNG forestry laws,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Sam Moko, when he returned to the Esperanza after three days on the Harbour Gemini.
“However, these sort of problems aren’t isolated to a few concessions. They are nationwide. The Papua New Guinea Government must implement an immediate moratorium on the allocation of new concessions and conduct a review of all existing logging concessions.”
With the looming threat of global climate change intact forests are becoming a valuable global commodity on world carbon markets. The PNG Government is trying to cash in on this by asking for international carbon money for forests protection but PNG’s record on forest management is woeful.
“If Papua New Guinea wants to be taken seriously internationally when asking for carbon financing support it needs to clean up the forest industry and protect more forest areas,” Mr Moko said. “It also needs to fully investigate all accusations of corruption, mismanagement and illegalities.”
“Sir Michael Somare can’t travel the world as the head of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, asking for millions of dollars for forest protection and talking about the need to protect forests without doing anything about it at home.”
A 2008 report by the University of PNG said the following on the subject:
“PNG’s forests could make a significant contribution to global efforts to combat climate change… However, the current state of forest management and lack of effective governance means that PNG is a long way from being able to meaningfully participate in the carbon economy.”
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organization, which uses non-violent, creative communication tools to put the spotlight on global environmental problems, and to drive towards solutions essential for a green and peaceful future.