Illegal logging debate heats up in Papua New Guinea

Feature story - 11 August, 2006
The debate on illegal logging in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is heating up. Rimbunan Hijau (RH), the largest logging company in PNG, commissioned an Australian consultancy company, ITS-Global, to write a report attacking Greenpeace in an attempt to discredit our work in PNG and shore up its deteriorating reputation.

Landowner Sakas Aonomo, his wife Tusue Sakas and daughter, Warume Sakas, walking through Log Camp 56, Wawai Guavi Block 3, Middle Fly, Western Province, PNG.

Read our response to the ITS-Global report

The ITS-Global report, "Whatever it takes: Greenpeace's anti-forestry campaign in Papua New Guinea", relies on misinformation and statistics provided by RH. The authors of the report didn't take the time to talk to landowners or NGOs working on forest issues in PNG. It appears the report is merely an exercise in mudslinging by RH against Greenpeace and numerous other NGOs working to find positive solutions to the mess that is the PNG forest sector.

The body of evidence against RH and the forestry sector in PNG flies in the face of the fiction RH is now trying to peddle with this report. Over the last 15 years the problems surrounding the PNG timber industry have been documented time and time again by numerous authoritative commentators. These have included the PNG Ombudsman Commission, the PNG Department of Labour, Independent Review Teams, acting on behalf on the Government of PNG and the World Bank, the PNG National Intelligence Organisation, former Australian Supreme Court Judge Tos Barnett, and the High Court of New Zealand.

Most recently (August 2006) the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) released a report that highlights human rights abuses and corruption in PNG's large scale forestry sector.

Greenpeace has prepared a response to the allegations against us and others in order to set the record straight. RH, it appears, can't handle the truth that large scale industrial operations, like those it runs in PNG are having a disastrous affect on PNG's forests and people.

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