February 08, 2010
A lawsuit by a local landowner claiming that the Forest Management Area was illegally granted to RH has put the company's logging on hold for two months along the Ramu River in Madang Province. However according to Ecological Internet, which has started a campaign to expel RH from the area, the lawsuit is “only a temporarily reprieve”.
Ecological Internet working with Asples Madang, hopes to use the reprieve in order to bring attention to RH's alleged abuses which it calls "sociopathic", as well as highlight the possibilities of sustainable logging and alternatives to logging altogether in the region.
RH logging site in Papua New Guinea. Photo courtesy of Ecological Internet.
This isn't the first time that RH has faced allegations of corruption and environmental degradation. A report by Greenpeace of RH's operations in Papua New Guinea found that the company conducted large-scale illegal logging in Papua New Guinea and had violated numerous human rights.
JK Balasubramaniam, RH company secretary, called Greenpeace's allegations “baseless, frivilous, vexatious” saying that Greenpeace was committing “economic terrorism”.
However, a report by the Papua New Guinea Department of Labor and Employment also found evidence of bribery, corruption, and slave-like treatment of employees by RH.
The Ramu River Valley in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea is home to 2.47 million acres of lowland rainforest and swamp forest.
Rimbunan Hijau (RH) did not respond to request for comment.
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