Statement read at Barrick's 2012 AGM on behalf of the Porgera Alliance
May 2nd, 2012
For 4 years we have come to Canada to demand our basic rights. Today, because of political turmoil in Papua New Guinea, we are sending this statement instead of appearing in person. You extract hundreds of thousands of ounces of gold from our lands every year, and yet you deny us our dignity and basic human rights.
Our request – the solution – is to relocate our people to an area where we can live away from the mine, away from the daily environmental hazards, the militarization, the detentions, the shootings and the rapes. We want to live in an area where we can live a subsistence lifestyle, where our garden areas aren't over run with waste.
As this statement is being read, Porgera is being occupied by 120 soldiers, sent there on Barrick's request. We need an apology for the the continual human rights abuses that we endure, and compensation for the victims. We need to agree to a plan where we can be resettled out of the Special Mining Lease area, where we can grow food, live in peace, send our children to school, and have our basic health needs met.
Every year we have brought our complaints to this board, only to have our suffering ignored and the situation get worse.
And with each passing year, more evidence validates our experience, with reports from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Harvard Law, and Mining Watch confirming the abuses we face because of your mining operation.
When will you acknowledge the harms that your company has cause and work towards resolving these issues? When will you go beyond covering up your abuses and address the root issues, such as the urgent need for resettlement?
We understand that the life of the mine is extended beyond 2023, and if this is the case, we need to work towards long terms solutions today.