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Pacific Business & Human Rights

By the numbers

700+

Pacific

Number of items on our website relating to the Pacific

69%

Papua New Guinea

Percentage of the Pacific items on our website that are PNG-related

50%

Mining

Requests by us for responses to allegations of abuse in the Pacific

Visibility fosters action and, for too long, business and human rights issues in the Pacific have lacked prominence on the global stage.
Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong

There is growing momentum on business and human rights across the Pacific. Foreign investment can bring development gains but, if companies investing in the region do not meet internationally-recognised human rights expectations, the risk of human rights harm is high.

This is particularly true in high-risk sectors such as mining, fishing, forestry and, increasingly, tourism. Visibility, and an awareness of the issues, is key for all stakeholders working to advance respect for human rights by businesses operating in the Pacific.

Voices from the Ground

Interviews with local activists, leader and human rights defenders working on human rights issues related to business in the Pacific region.

People need to speak up so that powerful people all around the world respect human rights. Nothing will stop us from speaking up, because it is coming from our hearts.
- Cressida Kuala, Porgera, PNG

Context and Introduction

Visibility of the human rights impacts of business in the Pacific is low. With new investments growing in the region, Pacific communities face increasing challenges for fair and informed engagement with global companies, and run the risk of abuse. This is particularly true for those on the frontline of deforestation, irresponsible mining, fishing, tourism and seabed exploitation. Human rights harms are being documented in an increasing number of reports, including by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

There is an urgent need to raise awareness of the human rights responsibilities of companies operating in the region, and to expose business-related abuses being committed against communities and workers. Stability in the Pacific region requires urgent action to ensure human rights are embedded in investments. Without regard to international rules requiring respect for human rights in business, the sustainability of life in the Pacific for future generations is under threat.

Greater focus on the Pacific region is required to bring to light the true scale of human rights abuse.

With this new portal, we bring the broad range of local business and human rights challenges and opportunities into sharper focus, and amplify local and community voices from the Pacific.

Distances may be great, but Pacific voices deserve to be heard on global platforms. In this way, communities can be supported in their efforts to achieve stable, sustainable growth that will protect the futures of those that follow.
Amy Sinclair, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Case Studies

BHP lawsuit (re Ok Tedi mine, Papua New Guinea)

In 1994, Papua-New Guinean (PNG) landowners sued BHP in the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia alleging that BHP’s operations at the Ok Tedi copper mine caused destruction of the surrounding environment and of their traditional lifestyle.

Modern Slavery in Pacific Supply Chains of Canned Tuna

The Pacific is home to the world’s largest tuna fisheries, providing almost 60% of the world’s tuna catch, worth US$22 billion (out of a US$42 billion globally) in 2016, and demand is increasing. Yet reports of severe human rights abuses are rife, including forced labour, slavery, human trafficking and child labour.

Rio Tinto lawsuit (re Panguna mine, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea)

Residents of the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) filed suit against Rio Tinto under the Alien Tort Claims Act in US federal court in 2000.

Video: Heartless Mining

A documentary produced by Caritas Fiji about Black Sand Mining at the mouth of the Ba River, Fiji. Listen to the cry of the people of Votua and Nawaqarua who rely on the sea and the river for their livelihoods.

A Message to the UN from Papua New Guinea

Business & Human Rights defenders from Papua New Guinea address UN Forum

Report an Issue

Share a case of business impacts on human rights with us by clicking here and completing the form enclosed. Information provided on this form will be sent to Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and we will then be in touch to clarify any details and discuss next steps.