#PNG court dismisses orders restraining customary landowners from accessing their OWN land

pomio2A group of  customary landowners in Papua New Guinea have regained access to their land following  a  significant legal victory against supporters of a  logging company.
 
Seven people from Pomio in East New Britain  were barred from entering their land for  the last six years after restraining ordered were issued to them in  2012.
 
The landowners   include  Paul Pavol  Palusualrea and Nobert Pames who have been vocal against  land grabbing  and widespread deforestation in the remote district.
 
The National Court in Kokopo  set aside the restraining  orders  after finding that there  a lack of evidence.
 
The  landowners were represented by  lawyers from the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR). 
 
We are happy to have won the case for our clients who are from the forested
communities of West Pomio, whose resources have been exploited through SABL. They are now able to move freely on the land that is rightly theirs and continue the SABL campaigns of ridding the logging giants,”  said  lawyer Everlyn Wohuinangu.
 
The Pomio District is  the site of a controversial Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) where large tracts of rainforest have been logged and replaced by oil palm plantations.
 
The dispute  over  the logging and land grabbing  triggered the six year long  legal battle between the landowners and local companies sponsored by the Malaysian  logging company.
 
The court victory is also important  for customary landowners in other parts of the country who are battling   multi-national loggers.
 
 “The restraining orders were nothing more than intimidation of   local people.,” said CELCOR Director, Peter Bosip.   “It stopped them from accessing land to grow food and to hunt.
 
“There has also been instances of  police intimidation and intimidation by other parties.

“Other landowners should see this and stand firm in pursuing  recognition of their rights.  This was, simply,  a suppression of their constitutional rights.”
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s