13 Oct 2003

PNG squatters face eviction without hope of appeal

3:40 pm on 13 October 2003

The Madang provincial government in Papua New Guinea says thousands of illegal settlers facing eviction have realised that there is no option but to leave.

After lengthy legal action that's thwarted eviction plans, the province is proceeding to oust several thousand settlers on state land in Madang township.

It wants to subdivide and redevelop the land and evictions begin on December 14.

John Mona, the first secretary to the provincial governor, James Yali, says the settlers cannot challenge a recent court ruling and accept they have to go.

"Practically no-one is raising concern. Everyone's silent and everyone's slowly doing what they're supposed to do, which is of course to pack up and leave. There's no other options now. The government has made a decision and the government is doing everything possible to do a lot of awareness, which is part of our plans for this next couple of weeks up until December 14."

John Mona says unemployed settlers from outside the province, mainly from the highlands and Eastern Sepik, will return to their villages.

He says ongoing discussions aim to resolve where the remainder will relocate.