12 Nov 2002

PNG Forest Authority to investigate human rights abuses

6:26 pm on 12 November 2002

Papua New Guinea's National Forest Authority has been ordered to investigate allegations of human rights abuse and foreigners working illegally within the logging industry.

The Public Accounts Committee gave the directive to the Authority after it heard that police assigned to protect logging companies were allegedly violent against landowners to force them to give up their land.

And, the Committee ordered that the Forest Authority identify foreigners illegally working in the logging industry for instant deportation.

The Committee's Chair, John Hickey, says no leniency will be given to foreigners or to the police officers implicated of wrongdoing.

"I'm surprised that such violations have occured and it is very worrying for us to hear those allegations. Should we have evidence, particularly with the human rights allegations and the illegal employment of foreigners, we will take immediate action either through the public prosecutor, the police commissioner or the ombudsman."

John Hickey says the PNGNFA has until November 26 to present it's investigative findings to the committee.