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Seek action against killings at Porgera gold mine

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 16, 2010) – FOUR Porgera villagers – two of them landowners of Porgera gold mine – are in Canada to petition its Parliament to pass legislation that will force Canadian miners take more responsibility for environmental damages and social negative impact on local communities.

According to media reports out of Ottawa, four members of Ipili tribe are also there to demand Barrick Gold – operator of Porgera mine – to address issues at home.

A team of investigators from Harvard University recently compiled a report after visiting Porgera and talking to local communities that security personnel employed by the mine had had killed people and raped local women.

Barrick had vehemently denied the charges.

The Harvard university report was reported to a Canadian parliamentary committee that is looking into imposing laws that will empower Canada’s foreign ministry to deal with defaulting Canadian companies overseas.

The parliamentary committee is expected to hear from the Porgerans this week.

"We have been trying to raise awareness of these killings and rapes by Barrick’s security forces for many years," Jethro Tulin of the Akali Tange Association, a local grassroots human rights organisation, said. "Finally our allegations are being confirmed but Barrick is not supporting our calls for an investigation of these killings nor offering compensation to the families of those who have been killed or raped."

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