Wednesday, February 03, 2010


What is it with these Canadian mining companies?  This time its Papua New Guinea where amnesty international has identified police as having a pattern of brutality and forced evictions around a gold mine owned by the Barrick Gold Corporation. Amnesty has demanded that the government of Papua New Guinea conduct an investigation and take action.

The Amnesty report documents how between April and July 2009 police raided villages in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, burning down at least 130 buildings and forcing out families from their homes, including young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

By the way, as the photo below shows, the gold mine has a few other problems.

The following is from National Business Review.

Mining company under fire from Amnesty
Andrea Deuchrass

Pollution, Porgera Gold Mine by Erland Howden.

Gold Panning in Tailings, Porgera Gold Mine. (Water contains Sulpher, Mercury and Cyanide and is 70-80 degrees Celcius)
Amnesty International has released a report detailing alleged police violence and illegal evictions last year near a gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

The report, Undermining Rights: Forced evictions and police brutality around the Porgera gold mine, Papua New Guinea, alleges police violence and the forced eviction of families living beside the Porgera gold mine – 95% owned and operated by subsidiaries of Canadian gold mining company Barrick Gold Corporation (as part of the Porgera Joint Venture).

The report details police raids of highland villages in Wuangima between April and July 2009 and states police burnt down about 130 buildings, forcing out families including children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Amnesty mining and human rights specialist Shanta Martin said the mining companies failed to respond.

"Instead of being able to rely on the police to protect them, people who were living next to the mine's facilities have been the victims of human rights violations by police who illegally burnt down their houses and destroyed their belongings and gardens."

The human rights organisation is calling on the Papua New Guinea government to investigate police conduct.

It also wants Barrack and the Porgera Joint Venture to provide information to the authorities. Amnesty claims the mining company supported police and did nothing to record or report the alleged misconduct.

Amnesty issued statements last year about the alleged evictions but Barrick said the statements were "ill conceived and erroneous", claiming the buildings burned down were only temporary makeshift shacks.

After investigating the forced evictions, gaining first hand accounts and inspecting the burnt remains of houses, Amnesty gave its findings to the Papua New Guinea government, Barrack and the Porgera Joint Venture.

At a meeting in December, Amnesty claims the companies agreed further investigation was needed but have not taken action since.

Amnesty released the report as part of it Demand Dignity campaign (launched in May 2009), which aims to end human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty.

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