Post Courier | 4 July, 2016
The Meekamui Council Of Chiefs leader Chris Uma has called the decision by Rio Tinto to exit Panguna mine as nothing but a sweetheart deal gone sour with one party crying foul.
Meekamui Council Of Chiefs made up of paramount chiefs from (6) six major clans sit on the council and control all traditional land and resources on Bougainville.
Meekamui does not recognise or trust ABG to handle any issues regarding land because of past bad decision by politicians that forced the Bougainville crisis.
The Meekamui council of chiefs believed in the 1948 General Assembly of the UN adopted and proclaimed the Universal declaration of Human Rights.
Article 17 of the declaration states:
(1)Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2)no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
We believed that in 1975 when PNG became independent it adopted this rights into constitutional law and prohibits its termination by an ordinary law by parliament.
Meekamui believe that our land was unlawfully acquired by Australian Government for CRA and the 1967 (BCA) Bougainville Copper Agreement may have been rendered defective in 1975 when PNG gained independence.
Chief Uma said if the above is proven to be true than Rio Tinto or Bougainville Copper Agreement is illegal than the company will be charged for stealing our resources and creating massive environmental damages to our land.
Mr Uma explained that ABG and the state should not be dragged in to clean up the mess of Rio Tinto but stay our of business.
“Let me assure my people that I will stop at nothing to correct the wrong and injustice suffered.”
Mr Uma has appealled to the Prime Minister to reject the Rio Tinto deal as a con deal hacked out to escape corporate responsibity to clean up their mess.
Mr Uma also announced that Meekamui Council Of Chiefs have appointed a two man task force team headed by Meekamui Special Envoy John Jaintong and Reuben Siara Lawyer who filed the court case in the United States against Rio Tinto for Ten billion.
The task force will look into refiling the case at the US courts to: Make application to liquidate BCL and BCF and return proceeds to fund projects, and inform stock exchange to deregister the company.
Rio Tinto decision open to lawsuit
The Rio Tinto decision now open itself to a bitter lawsuit of violation of human rights,environmental damages, and importantly illegally operating Panguna mine and stealing copper gold and silver from my land.
I make this statement with good legal advice that the pre Independence law that validates Bougainville Copper Mining Agreement in 1967 may have been nullified in 1975 when PNG gained Independence.
The task force we set up will examine documents with the view to File a Supreme Court Case Against the State for interpretation of the law on rights of inheritance of customary land.
We are also challenging the legality of Section 5 Mining Act and Section 6 Oil and Gas act that gave the state and provincial Government powers to hold equity in resources projects.
These acts makes a mockery of the constitution of this country which recognised inheritance of land a Supreme Constitutional Law.
We in Bougainville reject Governments involvement in business in whatever form or shape Mr Uma said.
The task force we established will look at assets of Bougainville copper and especially assets of Bougainville Copper Foundation which my people owned by the charter which BCL regards as its subsidiary.
I expect BCL management to hand over assets of BCF to the task force without a fight.