Logo: Solidarity South Pacific

Greens slam attacks on anti-loggers

Greens slam attacks

THE rising attacks on non-government organisation workers campaining against bad logging practices has been condemned. The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum raised the concern while citing the shooting of a senior NGO leader early this month.

The NGO head was taken to the Port Moresby General Hospital after the attack.

"NGOs are working for peace and advocate for the human rights of all," the spokesperson said.

"They have made a huge contribution to the development of our nation.

"Yet we have seen an alarming increase in the frequency and seriousness of attacks in the past 12 months," he said.

The forum said all these attacks were more than mere coincidence.

"It is too much of a coincidence to attribute all these attacks to random acts of violence.

"A pattern has emerged where recent victims have been individuals and groups who are at the forefront of the campaign to stop illegal and unsustainable logging and in some of these cases there are clear links to logging interests," the spokesperson said.

The forum said inflicting violence on opponents of illegal and bad logging practices in PNG was not a new area of concern. Former judge Tos Barnett who headed a Commission of Inquiry into the logging industry in PNG, was stabbed and there have been several suspicious fire bombings of forestry offices over the years.

More recently community members in remote villages have also been targeted.

"Reported incidents include abductions and the false imprisonment of staff, personal abuse and threats, vehicle and property thefts, criminal damage and in one incident the wheel nuts on a car were loosened causing a potentially fatal incident," the forum said.

It pointed out that there were many documented cases of logging companies taking unlawful and violent action against local landowners and even their own employees who protest about logging companies practices.