Papua New Guinea activist to receive global prize for environment & human rights - has been threatened & beaten for opposing logging by Rimbunan Hijau

Author: Global Witness (UK), Published on: 1 October 2016

As activist receives global award for fighting deforestation, Global witness calls for urgent halt to rainforest destruction across Papua New Guinea, 29 Sep 2016

Papua New Guinea’s rainforests are being torn down at an alarming rate, and the people whose lives depend on them are facing intimidation and abuse when they try to speak out, says Global Witness.  One of these activists, Paul Pavol, will receive this year’s Alexander Soros Foundation prize for environmental and human rights, in recognition of the bravery and tenacity he has shown in the face of the world’s largest tropical logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, and its supporters in government...

Global Witness investigations have revealed how Paul  and fellow activists have been threatened and even beaten up by police for taking a stand against the logging, and many have received restraining orders banning them from the land around their homes.  

Since 2011 Rimbunan Hijau has exported timber worth around US$ 70,000,000 from Paul’s small community in Pomio alone ... Paul’s case is just one of many across the country – the government has leased over 50,000 km2 of community land to logging companies, 12 per cent of the country’s landmass... The vast majority of timber from Papua New Guinea is shipped to China, the world’s biggest importer of rainforest timber, which has no laws banning illegal wood...[but much also ends] up in the United States and European Union, despite regulations in place to keep illegal wood and wood products out of both markets...

Global Witness put the allegations contained in our investigations to Rimbunan Hijau. The company has denied breaking any PNG laws; denied that fraud and forgery were involved in the issuance of the leases; and claimed that the majority of local people back the project. Rimbunan Hijau claims that it respects the rights of local people and minimises the environmental impact of its operations.

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Related companies: Rimbunan Hijau