Organisations call on govt to stop Frieda River mine
The National, Papua New Guinea | 29 September 2020 | Original article can be viewed here
TEN United Nations rapporteurs, with the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transformational Corporations, have written to the PNG Government concerning the Frieda River copper and gold mine and the risks involved, according to two non-governmental organisations.
Project Sepik and Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (Celcor) Inc yesterday reiterated their stance against the project.
Project Sepik advocator Zephaniah Winduo Aaron said with such strong international attention on the issue, he called on the Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (Cepa) to reject the operator’s environmental impact statement and the project outright.
He was flanked by volunteer Vernon Gawi, Celcor executive director Peter Bosip, environmental activist Mathilda Koma and Project Sepik coordinator Emmanuel Peni.
The letter raised serious concerns about the potential human rights impact of the project, including rights to life, health, bodily integrity, water and food and the right to free, prior and informed consent.
Bosip said the address by the special rapporteurs was important and had to be seriously considered.
“This statement is not made by one, but 10 different special rapporteurs, who have untied to highlight these issues with our national government,” he said.
Peni said it was heartening for all Sepik people to know that their voices had been heard.
The letter followed an appeal to the UN special rapporteur on toxic wastes by Project Sepik and Celcor.
“The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) must also stop this mine from going ahead, and refuse to approve the project and the proposed tailings dam,” Peni said.
Attempts to get comments from Cepa and MRA yesterday were unsuccessful.