Malaysian company profits from human rights abuse and lawlessness

Greenpeace report reveals hidden horror of ancient forests.

Feature story - February 3, 2004
A Greenpeace report exposing the corrupt and destructive activities of the global Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, has been published in the lead up to the Summit for Life on Earth -- the UN meeting of the Convention for Biological Diversity held in Kuala Lumpur in February.

Rimbunan Hijau (RH) dominates the logging industry in Papua New Guinea and has interests in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, New Zealand and Russia, making it one of the world's largest participants in forest destruction. Many of its operations are characterised by documented illegalities and environmental destruction. The Greenpeace report, The Untouchables: Rimbunan Hijau's world of forest crime and political patronage, documents allegations of RH's use of tactics such as political corruption and abuses of indigenous peoples' rights within its operations.

"In Papua New Guinea, for example, Rimbunan Hijau is logging without landowner consent, in logging concessions that have not been initiated or allocated properly under the National Forestry Act, and in contravention of environmental law," said Stephen Campbell of Greenpeace International.

Greenpeace is highlighting the plight of the world's last remaining ancient forests and the depletion of the oceans in the lead up to the Summit for Life on Earth-the UN meeting of the Convention for Biological Diversity-to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February. Greenpeace is urging governments to protect life in all its diversity, ndigenous people's rights and cultural variety by providing money for protection of life on land and sea. World governments must also ban large-scale industrial activity in all sensitive areas and establish a network of land and marine protected areas with effective law enforcement and management.

"As hosts of the Summit for Life on Earth, the Malaysian government should set the example by ensuring that Malaysian companies operating internationally are held accountable for their destructive practices in the world's remaining ancient forests," Campbell said. "The destruction of life on earth is happening world-wide at an unprecedented rate. Governments need to take urgent action to stop this ecological disaster before it is too late."

Executive Summary