UN will be asked to step in over Paga Hill squatter removal
United Kingdom research centre to ask UN to step in over Paga Hill removal case.
A United Kingdom research centre says the Paga Hill case is just one of many forced evictions from illegal land transactions that the PNG government has done nothing about.
About 300 people were moved from Upper Paga Hill to customary land at Six Mile in Port Moresby, and police deny they were forcibly evicted.
The PNG co-ordinator of the International State Crime Initiative, Kristian Lasslett, says there's a pattern in PNG of developers of poor repute illegally obtaining land and violently removing residents.
Dr Lasslett told Leilani Momoisea that the Paga Hill case is the worst he's studied, and he's asking the UN to step in.
Dr. Kristian Lasslett : International attention needs to be drawn to it because these issues are systemic, systematic, we've seen the public accounts committee draw attention to them. We've seen the auditor general draw attention to these issues, we've seen reporters draw attention to these issues, we've seen human rights bodies draw attention to these issues. And as of yet, there is no national policy in place to deal with land conflicts. There is no formal resettlement policy, there is no attempt to observe basic, international norms with respect to the forced relocation of communities. It's not that we don't think that the national government has a role to play, but clearly there needs to be greater pressure put on the national government to begin to formulate and implement a policy with respect to land conflicts, urban development and the relocation of communities who are facing eviction.
Leilani Momoisea : And so what will happen do you think, once you go to the UN with that?
Dr. Kristian Lasslett : Our most immediate effect is we're trying to lobby for the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing to actually come to Papua New Guinea, and to conduct an investigation. Then of course it would be the mandate of the special rapporteur to then, if they believe it was a compelling case, then of course they would visit and issue a report and recommendations. The main reason why we're highlighting the case of Paga Hill is because it is probably the most serious case I've come across in my research over a period of two years in forced evictions in Papua New Guinea, and it's the most serious because it's a case where there is very clear public record that the land was acquired illegally, and that the developer has a range of companies who have been involved in business activities that have been heavily criticised by the public accounts committee and the auditor general. So there's a very clear case here that this is not the type of developer who should be given access to a prime piece of real estate, and yet when we brought that to light, when we showed the reports that Gudmumdur Fridriksson was censured in, the government didn't investigate, they have now actually entered into a 50/50 agreement with the Paga Hill development company to co-develop the land there. That's why we're trying to draw attention to Paga Hill, it's important intrinsically, but it's also probably the most serious case that we've seen so far.
Dr. Lasslett says he will put a report to the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing within the next six months.
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