20 Oct 2012

Claims PNG's Paga Hill consists of mainly criminals dismissed

10:48 am on 20 October 2012

The Papua New Guinea co-ordinator of the International State Crime Initiative has dismissed claims by a developer that the Paga Hill community consists mainly of criminals.

Kristian Laslett has produced a report documenting human rights abuses that occurred during the forced eviction at Paga Hill in May, as well as allegations of misconduct by the lease holder, the Paga Hill Development Company including its chairman Gudmundur Fridriksson.

Various PNG parliamentary investigations accused Mr Fridriksson of illegally profiting from the proceeds of the estates of deceased Papua New Guineans.

Dr Laslett says that the company's response to his report has been to attack the residents of Paga Hill themselves.

"Most of the people I've met on Paga Hill are working class people, they've got qualifications, they work for a living. So the evidence I've come across certainly contradicts this claim that they're criminals. The Paga Hill Development COmpany is trying to remove a self-sufficient community, one that has been on the land for over fifty years."

Kristian Laslett.