Rainforest timber stopped from leaving Paradise

Feature story - September 3, 2008
Armed police have escorted three of our activists off a ship in Papua New Guinea. The activists had stopped the ship, bound for China, from loading illegally logged timber from the Paradise Forest. They remained harnessed to a crane onboard the vessel for more than 55 hours and are now safely back on the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza.This peaceful direct action highlighted the impact of deforestation on climate change and was supported by many local people who joyously watched from boats, singing and dancing.

Activists from the Esperanza, assisted by local land owners, halt the loading of illegally logged trees onto the 'Harbour Gemini' ship from the rainforests of Papua New Guinea.

The ship, Harbour Gemini, was loading timber at Paia in the Gulf Province when three activists from Papua New Guinea and one from New Zealand climbed a loading crane to hang a huge banner reading 'Protect Forests, Save Our Climate'.

We took peaceful action in the Paradise Forests at the invitation of local resource owners.

Protecting forests saves our climate.

Forest destruction accounts for around 20 percent of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions every year. Logging in Papua New Guinea's (PNG) rainforests is out of control.

"We've stopped the loading of this shipment with support from resource owners whose rainforest, which they depend upon for survival, is being destroyed."

Sam Moko, Greenpeace forest campaigner, on board the Harbour Gemini logging ship

These ancient forests need to be protected to save our climate and we asking the Papua New Guinea government to establish a moratorium on any new large-scale logging concessions or extensions.

PNG's record of corruption and lies

The PNG government has been asking for international money to protect its forests and benefit the global climate. But still illegal and destructive logging continues.

The government has a very poor forest management record, wrapped in accusations of corruption and misappropriation of funds. Recently, logging companies allegedly paid US$67 million into a government minister's private Singapore bank account. If Papua New Guinea is seeking carbon financing support to save their forest, there must be an investigation into these allegations.

Locals demand an investigation

Local resource owners in the region have repeatedly asked the government for 13 years to investigate documented breaches of forestry laws by Turama Forest Industries, a Rimbunan Hijau Group company. Yet nothing has been done.

Kemaru Garry Bissue, Chairman of the Kikori Environmental Association and a landowner from the Kibiri tribe said "We are here to protest the total disrespect of Turama Forest Industries and their logging agreement with our people. The company has abused our sacred sites, polluted our river, logged too close to our villages, made our food resources scarce and is withholding payments of royalties."

European Influence

PNG's forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate.  One out of every four tropical hardwood logs imported into China comes from PNG. Most of the logs are processed into plywood and re-exported to large markets, including Europe 

The European Commission will soon be proposing a new law to exclude illegally-harvested timber products from the EU market. We are calling on the EU to adopt new and binding laws to ensure all wood products placed on its market come from legal and well-managed forests.

Take action

Ask the EU ban illegal timber.

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