Corporations in the forest

Page - December 21, 2006
Illegal and destructive logging is rife throughout the Paradise Forests. One of the greatest challenges is the need to improve law enforcement, including the elimination of corruption and bribery among companies and government officials.

In PNG, local landowners tried to stop Rimbunan Hijau from making a logging road but were ignored by the company.

In Indonesia it is estimated that 76-80 percent of all logging is illegal. Almost all logging in Papua New Guinea is illegal because it is done without the full and informed consent of the customary landowners.

Logging in the Solomon Islands is controlled by a handful of Asian corporations. These companies have long been criticised and documented as providing little benefit to the country while employing destructive practices, including: illegal logging, illegal log exports, illegal payments to officials, destruction of local water supplies and prostitution.

Although virtually all of Papua New Guinea's land is owned by indigenous communities, logging companies are still able to destroy the forest at record rates. Logging companies have already acquired 70 percent of Papua New Guinea's available forest resources. The government is planning to hand out concessions for most of the remaining accessible forest to logging companies, even though they flout the law.

The most destructive company operating in the area is Malaysian logging giant, Rimbunan Hijau, responsible for nearly half of all logs that leave the country. In its insatiable drive to profit from destroying the forest, Rimbunan Hijau continues to break the law. It fraudulently acquires concessions to log forest areas, breaches environmental regulations and commits human rights abuses. Yet the company appears to be protected by political patronage and its forest crimes go unchecked.

An Ombudsman Commission investigating the illegal extension of the Wawoi Guavi logging concession in Papua New Guinea awarded to a Rimbunan Hijau owned company, accused consecutive Forest Ministers of being involved in serious misconduct while high ranking politicians are accused of acquiring logging concessions with total disregard of the law and the customary landowners.

Reports

Greenpeace has documented Malaysian logging giant, Rimbunan Hijau's destructive practices and blatant disregard for the law across four continents including the countries of Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Indonesia, Vanuatu, Russia and New Zealand. Greenpeace Report January 2004: The Untouchables - World of forest crime and political patronage.

Greenpeace has documented Rimbunan Hijau's illegal logging operations in Wawoi Guavi in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea: Briefing Paper January 2004: Illegal Logging in Wawoi Guavi.

The Partners in Crime report profiles the scandalous Kiunga-Aiambak Road Project as one example of what is going wrong in Papua New Guinea's forests.

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