Amnesty Urges Investigation into Evictions Near Barrick Mine

3 February 2010 (Last Updated February 3rd, 2010 18:30)

Amnesty International has urged Papua New Guinea to investigate claims that its police force made people leave land located next to Barrick Gold's Porgera gold mine last year to allow for mining activities. Amnesty alleged that from April to July 2009, police resorted to intimidation an

Amnesty International has urged Papua New Guinea to investigate claims that its police force made people leave land located next to Barrick Gold's Porgera gold mine last year to allow for mining activities.

Amnesty alleged that from April to July 2009, police resorted to intimidation and violence to clear more than a 100 buildings, burning down villages adjacent to the mine.

The human rights group said, however, that Barrick did not play any role in the evictions but it still should have initiated investigations into the actions, and informed government authorities once it knew of the police’s actions.

Amnesty said Barrick was providing local police with fuel, food and accommodation under an agreement.

From August to October 2009, Amnesty said it had conducted an investigation into the incident.

Barrick, however, has hit out at Amnesty, saying it failed to tackle the social and legal issues in the area and hinted that political or financial motivation could have triggered the incident.

The Canadian miner said the objectivity and adequacy of Amnesty's probe should be questioned because of such omissions.

It said it was not aware of police brutality in the area and that it would continue to give the police adequate support.