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Published on Aug 12, 2010
In Papua New Guinea, the leaders of a demonstration against changes to the country's environment laws have been warned they could face arrest. Thousands of protesters defied a warning from the country's attorney general to hold a march in Madang Province.
The government, through the Environment Minister, Benny Allan, made changes to sections of the Environment Act 2000 to prevent landowners and concerned Papua New Guineans from "interfering" with industrial resource development projects destroying oceans and rainforests -- like the Chinese Ramu Nickel Mine in Madang and Exxon-Mobil Liquid Natural Gas project in the Southern Highlands. Without any warning or consultation, on May 27, 2010, the government of PNG introduced emergency legislation that dissolved the Constitutional rights of all landowners in PNG, including the right of Indigenous People to own land, challenge resource projects in court and receive any compensation for environmental damage. The bill was passed without being seen or debated by parliamentarians.