3 Feb 2010

Amnesty criticises PNG police over Porgera evictions

4:13 pm on 3 February 2010

Amnesty International says Papua New Guinea's police acted outside their power when they evicted people from their homes near the Porgera gold mine last year.

The organisation released a report documenting how police burned down the homes of people in the gold-rich area.

Landowners said earlier police burned down about 300 houses, but police said they destroyed 50 shelters following a rise in illegal mining.

A mining and human rights specialist, Shanta Martin, says the report is based on evidence from 180 people, medical reports and other data.

"There was significant evidence of forced evictions that people had certainly been living there, that they were well established houses that were burned down. Police acted contrary to search warrant, which would not in any way give the police power to destroy property, that they failed to ensure that there was notice and consultation [with those who are going to be affected]."

Shanta Martin is calling on the government to investigate the matter.