Illegal land grabbing

Minister takes tough stance against land grabbing

“All the illegal land grabbers, we’ll be going through all their files, all the parks and everything in Lae will be our first order of business, (which) is take them back and they will be done properly in the legal way,” said Rosso during the handover- takeover of the Lands Ministry on Tuesday.

Minister Rosso says he will be working close with Minster for Housing and Urbanization, Justin Tkatchenko, to give titles to locals living in National Housing Corporation properties.

Rural subsistence farmers need a voice

Illegal land grabbing is a massive problem in PNG and has a big impact on rural subsistence farmers.

Once permission over the customary-owned land is granted to a company through a lease title, communities are displaced and to some point, disrespected.

Furthermore, with an absence of a Human Rights Commission, landowners lack support to present their cases.

As a consequence, the forest dependent subsistence farmers, mothers and children are greatly affected as their movement is restricted. They lose access to gardening grounds, fishing, hunting and sacred sites.

New committee will look at SABLs

Lands and Physical Planning Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, announced this recently, stating there are some SABLs that work quite well.

The Minister says this is only the tip of the iceberg and SABL has been a major issue for the people of Papua New Guinea in terms of customary land grabbing.

The newly set up Customary Land Advisory Committee will be responsible for the issuing of licenses to do business on customary land and SABLs given out illegally will be dealt with accordingly and done away with.

Action must be taken on Manumanu COI: TIPNG

Chairman of TIPNG, Lawrence Stephens, says TIPNG welcomes efforts to uncover facts and investigate alleged wrong doing.

“It is in the interest of the people of Papua New Guinea and particularly the people of Manumanu that the investigations be carried out immediately and those that are found to have acted fraudulently to be charged and face the courts.”

TIPNG, however, remains appalled by the long list of multiple COIs that have not yet been acted on and individuals named continue to enjoy impunity.  

Land advocate questions Defence Minister’s statement

This was the statement from Motu-Koita land advocate and former secretary for the Department of Information and Communication, Henao Iduhu.

“All customary landowners in Manumanu-Pinu, Central Province, were never alerted nor consulted and thereby the land was acquired in breach of the Land Act 1996,” argues Iduhu.

Iduhu asked why the Member for Kairuku-Hiri, Peter Isoaimo, did not act in the interest of his constituents earlier to put a stop to this illegal land grab.

US senators call on O’Neill to end illegal land grabbing

They have also called on the government to pull out police presence protecting the interest of logging companies and to hold accountable those who have broken laws.

US Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont), and Jeff Merkley (Oregon), both signed the letter dated December 7th, 2016, conveying their concerns after receiving information that more than 50,000 square kilometres of land has been leased by the government to foreign backed companies.