10 Feb 2011

PNG government slammed for not reining in private security forces

5:35 pm on 10 February 2011

Human Rights Watch says the Papua New Guinea government has failed to address issues around the use of private security forces by mining companies.

This follows the move by the operator of the Porgera goldmine in Enga province to sack five employees over alleged abuses against villagers, including pack rapes.

Alleged abuses by members of Porgera Joint Venture's 450-strong private security force are being investigated by police, while the mine's majority owner, Barrick Gold of Canada, has also started an internal investigation.

Human Rights Watch's Chris Albin-Lackey says the response to date from the PNG government has been silence.

"The government is doing absolutely nothing to exercise meaningful oversight over the private security force at the Porgera Mine or any other private security force in the country. And that's really the heart of the problem, the fact that at this mine and other similar sites around the country, companies are running private security forces largely free of any government supervision."

Human Rights Watch's Chris Albin-Lackey