Target: Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill
Goal: Develop a strict land use plan to protect communities from foreign-owned logging companies and agricultural businesses.
The local people living in communities all over Papua New Guinea are currently the victims of a national crime. Their land is being taken right out from under them by foreign-owned companies to be deforested and logged. A new land planning process and set of policies needs to be implemented in order to create a balance of development to benefit the country, as well as justice for the local customary-landholders.
Special Agricultural and Business Leases, or SABLs, are part of a leasing scheme that grants logging companies as well as other large corporations easy access to land that is rightfully owned by locals of Papua New Guinea. SABLs and the companies using them are not required to receive the approval of the landowner before they take his or her land. A report from Greenpeace states that 75 percent of the leases are foreign-owned and that log exports grew almost 20 percent in 2011, with that rise in percentage being overwhelmingly attributed to the logging under SABLs.
The world’s third largest tropical rainforest is located on Papua New Guinea but with all the ongoing logging and deforestation, half of the entire rainforest could be depleted by 2021. The destruction of the rainforest isn’t the only loss the people of Papua New Guinea are facing. Their land is being turned over to the hands of powerful corporations to use however they please, without taking into consideration the misplacement of these helpless locals and how their greedy actions will affect the communities of Papua New Guinea.
Peter O’Neill was sworn into the position of prime minister on August 4, 2012 and now is the time to ask the Papua New Guinea government to make a change. The previous prime minister, Michael Somare, allowed fraudulent SABLs and it necessary that O’Neill now criminalizes these fraudulent SABLs and nullifies previous leases to return land back to its respectful owner. By signing this petition, you are asking for justice for the people of Papua New Guinea that have been exploited by these foreign-owned logging and agricultural companies. Help restore their livelihoods and protect Papua New Guinea’s rainforest for generations to come.
Dear Prime Minister O’Neill,
Land in Papua New Guinea is being taken away from its rightful local owners by large foreign-owned corporations. Special Business and Agricultural Leases, or SABLs, are being granted to big businesses to take over the property of customary-landholders while they have no say in the process. These locals are quickly losing their land, their communities, and their hope for future generations, all because nothing is being done to protect their rights.
I urge you to take action on this issue before it is too late. The people of Papua New Guinea are not the only ones who are in danger. If the largest 48 SABLs were to be logged and deforested as they are intended to be, 3 billion tonnes of stored carbon dioxide will be released and the Earth’s atmosphere will be severely damaged.
SABLs are not sustainable for the health of the rainforest, nor is it fair to take people’s land without their consent. Please enact strict regulations against the use of unjust SABL’s and work to develop a better land use plan to keep development from harming the people of Papua New Guinea.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flags of the World via Public Domain