Investors told to respect rights of indigenous people

PNG voices urged investors to respect human rights in PNG through a video message at the 8th annual UN Business and Human Rights Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 27.

The video was made by a group of 30 local stakeholders from Government and civil society involved in business and human rights in PNG.

In the video, Chris Lam from 350 PNG, a Lae-based NGO advocating for climate change action, states: “Please respect that more than 90 percent of indigenous people in PNG rely on the land and all our resources for our sustainability and our livelihood.”

To business entities, Zilpah Yahamani from Frontiers Environmental Consultants, based in Port Moresby, highlights: “If you are seeking investment in our country, Papua New Guinea, do it with respect to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, specifically Article 17. You must have Human Rights due diligence, respect the rights of the indigenous people, the land and the resources on their land, respect our culture.

“If you already have investment in our country, practice accountability, you are required under the State to do this and respect due diligence respectively.”

The video from PNG was played at a special session on “Advancing the business and human rights agenda in the Pacific” at the Global Forum, which is the largest global gathering on business and human rights, and is attended by more than 2,000 representatives from governments, business, civil society, affected groups and international organisations.

Representing entities concerned with business and human rights issues in PNG, including deep sea mining, mine tailings waste disposal, coal mining, rights of landowners and affected communities, the group recorded the video after completing a training on “Human rights, Business, and the Sustainable Development, Goals” on 11 to 15 November 2019.

The training was held by the UN Human Rights Office and UNDP with regional partners; the Diplomacy Training Program, Pacific Islands Association of NGOs, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and the UNSW Institute for Global Development.

(Participants at the training recording a video message for the UN Global Forum on Business and Human Rights 2019)

Press release