Amnesty International Decries PNG Crackdown On Illegal Miners

admin's picture

‘Destroying peoples' homes is an excessive response’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 11, 2014) – Amnesty International has condemned a police crackdown on illegal miners in Papua New Guinea, labelling police actions "horrific" and excessive.

Police raided a village near the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province last Friday, burning a number of homes to the ground.

Police say they were targeting unauthorised miners and set fire to 20 houses in the village, while local politicians claim 200 homes were burnt.

The PNG government declared a state of emergency in the area in May, in an attempt to address "law and order issues", mostly connected to the Barrick gold mine.

Amnesty International Pacific researcher Kate Schuetze says destroying peoples' homes is an excessive response.

"That does not by any standards justify the horrific acts against these people which has left many people homeless," she said.

Ms Schuetze says the incident is just one more in the ongoing tension between the Canadian-owned mining site and local landowners, which has seen a number of human rights violations against villagers, including rape and sexual assault.

"There have been serious human rights violations happening over a number of years which Amnesty International has documented, not just the forced evictions and destruction of homes," she said.

"Human Rights Watch has reported on sexual assault cases and rape by security contractors employed at the mine."

She says the draconian response to illegal miners is inappropriate.

"That's not really a solution to any of these issues," she said.

"You certainly don't solve it by burning down people's homes and what we're seeing is this 'tit for tat' sort of response which is entirely inappropriate for a credible police force.

"There needs to be proper investigation into what's happening and those people responsible need to be held accountable, so if there are accusations that people have acted unlawfully by engaging in illicit mining activities then that needs to go through a justice process the same as the accusations of sexual assault, the accusations of violence and the accusations of burnt down homes."

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment