Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Logging, Papua New Guinea > Judge sits on illegal logging compensation claim for 4 years

Judge sits on illegal logging compensation claim for 4 years

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments
Rimbunan Hijau expands its empire while villages wait in vain for compensation for illegal logging

Rimbunan Hijau is relentlessly expanding its empire while villages wait in vain for compensation for their illegal logging

A group of landholders from the Southern Highlands have been waiting for four years for a judge to decide on the amount of compensation they are owed by Rimbunan Hijau for illegally logging on 3,000 hectares of their land.

In 2008, the National Court ruled that logging by Rimbunan Hijau on land owned by the Sekusi-Sisapi people from Yanguli village was illegal, as the villagers had never given their consent to the operations.

In 2013, a further court hearing was held before Justice Ere Kariko to assess the amount of compensation owed by RH to the villagers for the environmental damage to their forests. Two Australian expert witness Tom ‘Diwai’ Vigus and Dr Ian Curtis, gave evidence on behalf of the landowners.

But the judge has completely failed to ever give his decision.

In the intervening years the landholders have written many time to the judge, to the Chief Justice and the courts administrators, calling for the judge to release his findings, but still they are waiting.

The landholders are now questioning why justice is being denied to them as simple, powerless and vulnerable grassroots people while the logging company, with its massive resources is allowed to further build and extend its huge empire in Port Moresby and beyond.

Obviously, when the courts cannot be relied upon to do their job it sends a strong signal to all overseas companies operating in PNG and to the logging industry in particular, that they are free to do whatever they like and they will never be punished.

  1. February 21, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Is there a particular reason why Justice Ere Kariko is failing to hand down his decision?

    Would it perhaps have something to do with the APEC 2018 meeting next year?
    (For those who are not aware, APEC is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation which promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region, whilst your children, women, men – all citizens of PNG are dying due to environmental devastation of your land, lack of medicines, schools and education.)

    The Australian newspaper on the 30th January, 2017 states:
    “Papua New Guinea has formally invited new US President Donald Trump to Port Moresby for the APEC leaders summit next year.

    Prime Minister Peter O’Neill wrote to Mr Trump inviting him to join the 20 other leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation talks in November 2018.

    “APEC is a forum to expand investment, break down unjust bureaucratic regulation to trade, and to confront issues that threaten our shared economic stability and security,” Mr O’Neill said in a statement.”


    Predatory corporations, failing governance, and the fate of forests in Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea (PNG) sustains some of the world’s most biologically and culturally rich forests. Like many tropical nations, PNG is changing rapidly as it attempts to develop economically, but corporate misdealing and weak governance are undermining its capacity to do so sustainably. Overexploitation of forests is rampant, with most accessible forests likely to be logged or disappear in 1–2 decades. The timber industry has long been plagued by endemic corruption, with Rimbunan Hijau, a Malaysian corporation controlling much of the country’s timber supplies, considered a chronic offender by many. Most timber is exported as raw logs, mainly to China, providing only limited income and employment for local communities. Because of corruption and weak enforcement capacity, proceeds from logging are often concentrated in the hands of political elites or the wealthy and logging operations often violate mandated standards. Moreover, traditional communal groups in PNG have recently been stripped of their legal rights to impede development projects that are deemed environmentally risky. Human welfare in the country has actually worsened, with mean incomes, adult literacy, and the Human Development Index all falling in recent years. We propose a slate of immediate measures to reduce environmental damage and the exhaustion of timber supplies while increasing societal benefits in PNG.

    For those who are not aware, APEC is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation which promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

  2. February 22, 2017 at 12:28 am

    What is the reason for the delay?

  1. February 25, 2017 at 11:27 am

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