Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Sam Moko talks to Rimbunan Hijau security guards while attempting to deliver Rimbunan Hijau with the Golden Chainsaw Award.
The activists were harassed inside RH's Port Moresby compound
and hadto lock themselves into their vehicles for their own
safety. Acameraman was assaulted while attempts were made to seize
his film andhis camera was broken.
RH is the largest logging company in PNG today. A 2003/2004
review ofexisting logging concessions documented numerous
allegations of abuseof local landowners, including rape and
physical violence, by eitherlogging company officials or police
associated with the loggingcompanies. Allegations were also made by
a former officer of an elitePNG police taskforce that RH paid local
police officers to intimidateand beat landowners who complained
about breaches to their rights.
Today, our personnel and people from the media were prevented
fromleaving the compound for 45 minutes. The cars and windows
werepounded on and verbal threats made. The situation came to an
endafter police arrived and escorted Greenpeace staff and
volunteers,along with senior management from RH, to the local
policestation. No charges were laid.
We wanted to peacefully present the company with the award - to
mark 30years of forest destruction - and leave. RH's over-reaction
reflectsits belief that it is above the law.
The incident occurred as delegates from around the world arrived
inPort Moresby for the African, Caribbean and Pacific - European
Union(ACP-EU) ministerial meeting to discuss trade and development.
We willbe asking EU delegates to urgently implement legislation to
stopillegal timber from companies like RH from entering the
RH controls logging concessions in many parts of the developing
world.It operates with impunity in PNG, directly controlling 40 per
cent ofall log exports. It was recently granted a new 791,000
hectareconcession in Kamula Dosa by the PNG government. This
concession islocated in one of the largest pristine forest areas
left in the country.
The Greenpeace Golden Chainsaw award is reserved for the worst
forestdestroyers in the world. It has been awarded twice before,
tocompanies in Brazil and Indonesia.
In conjunction with the award, we released a "
Forest Crime File"highlighting RH's continued involvement in
large scale forestdestruction and questioning the legality of its
The report states that unless brought under control, timber
giants suchas RH will continue to "plunder the world's ancient
forests, destroyingcultural diversity, biodiversity, stealing from
some of the world'spoorest and most vulnerable people and degrading
the environment onwhich we ultimately depend".
The report also points to the close ties RH enjoys with the PNG
government. Examples include:
- An ex-Deputy Prime Minister was criticised by the PNG
Ombudsmanfor pressuring the National Forest board to favour RH with
an illegaltimber permit extension.
- In 2004, Minister for Internal Security, Mark Maipakai was
theshareholder and director of a company, Gopera Investments Ltd,
holdinga timber permit sub-contracted to RH.
- A National Intelligence Organisation report alleged that
aprovincial Governor and two Members of Parliament were on