Forced Evictions

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In March 2009 the Government of Papua New Guinea’s National Executive Council responded to a request by Member of Parliament Philip Kikala of Lagaip-Porgera by deciding to deploy military and police in a “call out” to address “law and order issues” in the vicinity of the Porgera Joint Venture gold mine.

On April 18, 2009, more than 200 troops including 4 mobile units, an air tactical unit and intelligence officials from the PNG Defence Force were deployed in Porgera in an operation named “Operation Ipili ’09.”

On April 27, 2009, at the Ungima village adjacent to the open pit mine, ‘Operation Ipili 2009’ had completely burnt down all the houses and evacuated the land.  All of the houses of the Ungima village about 80 and 2 houses in Yokolama village were burnt and another 4 houses of Kulapi village were burnt. Villagers who spoke up to protect their homes were bashed and bruised. Others were detained.

Over the next three months – despite receiving condemnation from international NGOs such as Amnesty International and the Center for Housing Rights and Evictions – following landowners rebuilding homes in the area, the Ungima village was burnt down two more times over the next three months.

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