Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Logging, oil palm, Papua New Guinea > World Watches as Indigenous People Continue to Suffer

World Watches as Indigenous People Continue to Suffer

A response to the noble statement made by UN that a healthy and sustainable environment is needed to protect Human Rights

Lester Seri

World over, indigenous peoples rights continue to be violated through stealing of their land and destruction of their environment by unscrupulous transnational corporations supported by their governments, the very bodies that represent them in making the Global Government, The United Nations.

While they make such noble statements for and on behalf of humanity and the people spread across the face of the Globe especially, the most vulnerable and unfortunate ones, one wonders, when any salvation will ever come to these people who fight day and night to hold onto what rightly belongs to them, to help them, in order to restore the source of their sustenance and existence, and, for the survival and benefit of the generation now and in the future that will see to the continuity of what makes them unique, as an indigenous people, that UN claims to know, they exist?

The annals of the world history are full of such rhetoric from the pulpits of the untouchable while human suffering continues. Is it not time for such bodies as the UN to really get down to the ground and be seen to be really getting its hands dirty trying to help the people in need and suffering fighting to save what keeps them alive so that, it is seen to be truly noble in speech and deed, supporting the troubled government in need, so that, the people suffering, are not only actually saved but, their dignity and unique identity that makes them indigenous by UN definitions are also, restored?

Five million hectares of customary land belonging to indigenous people of Papua New Guinea has been expropriated by their own government and given to members of transnational corporations without their consent and knowledge and while there have been complaints and protests by the citizens and demand for the return of their land that rightly belongs to them, the government seems oblivious to the cries of its indigenous people as if these people do not matter, takes no decisive action to correct the wrong in law and administration because these corporations not only have paid for their illegal acquisition but the government is scared that, it could be sued if the illegal leases are cancelled.

The mind boggling question is, so what happens to these people or where do they go, now that they have been uprooted from the very land that they have called home for generations since time immemorial?

Given the track record of the governments of Papua New Guinea since independence, the wellbeing of the country and its people, politically speaking, has never been the subject of any serious concern for them considering the billions of dollars spent on so called development and there is still nothing to show for today. The divide between the haves and have nots is as clear as the breaking waves that separates the sea from the shore, but our misfortune is that, we have a lot more people living below the poverty line, if we can borrow the UN development jargon, to deal with. And with a lot more people, in Papua New Guinea and the world over, continued to be uprooted and displaced from their customary land, I think it is right to say, we, as the citizens of the world, truly have a dilemma on our hands!

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