|Jethro Tulin’s testimony read to Barrick shareholders at their 2009 Annual General Meeting
April 29th, 2009
|My name is Jethro Tulin and I hold a proxy from Mr. David Wurfel.
Mr. Munk, I am an indigenous Ipili from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. I have traveled half way across the world to speak out against the grave human rights and environmental conditions my people face because of your Porgera mine. I came to this meeting last year as well, telling your shareholders and Barrick’s Board of Directors about the situation in Porgera, but all questions from shareholders were censored from Barrick’s webcast of the meeting.
Since I spoke at this meeting last year, there have been 5 more killings of indigenous community members by your security guards and more women have been raped by your security guards. These issues are now being investigated by the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings at the United Nations.
The toxic waste you continue to dump into our 800 kilometer long river system (which would be illegal in Canada) has caused the Norwegian Government to divest its pension fund from more than 230 million Canadian dollars worth of shares in Barrick Gold and to report that its decision was based on its â€œassessment that investing in the company entails an unacceptable risk of the Fund contributing to serious environmental damage.â€
Now, under the influence of your company, the Papua New Guinea government has imposed a virtual State of Emergency in Porgera. When I came to Canada last week I received reports from Porgera that landowners who have spoken out against your mine are now being targeted. This week, and while I am standing here before you, their houses are being burnt down and they are fleeing for fear of their life.
Days after your Annual Meeting last year I met with your Senior executives Peter Sinclair and Vince Borg, and a commitment was made to establish dialogue and find a way to address the issues. But this dialogue has never taken place. Instead the human rights and environmental abuses we have been suffering for many years have continued.
Mr. Munk, your mine has destroyed our land, our water, our safety and our ability to feed ourselves. We know that we can no longer live on our ancestral land. We know that we must leave our place so that our children can have a future. But rather than offer us fair terms for our relocation you are calling for military action and our houses and lands are being torched.
My questions for you, Mr. Munk, are on behalf of the Porgera Alliance, a coalition of human rights activists and Porgera landowners: