Exxon denials of complicity in police abuses should not fool anyone

lng-project-hela

LNG Project facility, Hela Province, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Exxon-Mobil is trying to deny complicity in the mass burning of innocent villager’s homes by police units protecting its facilities, claiming it is not at fault as it does not ‘pay’ the police their salaries.

But Exxon’s denials are not fooling Radio New Zealand [see story below] who broke the initial story of human rights abuses, and they shouldn’t fool anyone else either.

While Exxon may be correct to claim they don’t “hire” or “employ” the police, their website makes clear they do provide  “transport, fuel, lodging and stipends for the police away from their normal work locations”.

So according to Exxon it is okay for the company to provide what are effectively a bunch of thugs with expensive four-wheel drive vehicles, provide them with fuel to drive around, give them accommodation in company beds and give them cash – “stipends” – while denying any responsibility for the human rights abuses they commit!

Exxon also claims on its PNG LNG website, “we have an important role to play in promoting respect for human rights, violations are not acceptable and should not be condoned”.

If this statement is genuine then Exxon should condemn the police abuses and withdraw their support to anyone accused of violations until there has been a full, independent investigation.

Exxon must stop providing transport, accommodation and cash to those responsible for human rights violations!!!

Exxon denies claim about hiring PNG police

Radio New Zealand | 30 November 2016

The multi-national oil and gas company running Papua New Guinea’s LNG project denies a suggestion that it hires police to guard its operations.

This suggestion resurfaced this week with comments from Hela province where the project’s main gas fields are located, following a deadly ambush on an MP’s convoy.

The ambush in Komo last week was related to a tribal conflict and not the LNG project, according to police.

However a suggestion by a local field worker that an alleged reprisal was carried out by police who are hired by the project to provide security for its operations has been firmly denied by ExxonMobil PNG.

LNG Project facility, Central Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

LNG Project facility, Central Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Exxon says it plays no role in the conduct of police operations, and nor does it “hire” police or employ “LNG security police”.

Several years ago, Exxon and its fellow operators of the LNG project signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary which established interaction in relation to security for the project.

According to the LNG Project website, “the MOU plays an important role in establishing clear expectations as well as providing a solid foundation for the delivery of effective policing at our worksites”.

The project operators can “offer support such as transport, fuel, lodging and stipends for the police away from their normal work locations”.

Meanwhile, Exxon says it is continuing to monitor the situation after the ambush in Komo in which two people died.

“The safety of our staff and the community is our first priority,” said an Exxon spokesperson, adding that the events of last week had no material impact on PNG LNG operations.

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5 Comments

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

5 responses to “Exxon denials of complicity in police abuses should not fool anyone

  1. Sandy Patton

    Horrific

  2. The reporting by Radio New Zealand is yet a classic example of the notoriety and complicity between the members of the RPNGC and big foreign companies. The mere fact that Exxon Mobil provides to the RPNGC ancillary expenses shows the lack of foresight Exxon Mobil has towards its due diligence and safe work environment. Payments to the police by Exxon Mobil is a blatant misuse of the constitutional duties of police and law enforcement agents. Their responsibility is to protect citizens, not harass them.

    Land and resource owners, in particular, have been at the mercy and blunt end of policing and corporate greed to protect their interests. Exxon Mobil is not the only big foreign company that manipulates the police for its own interests. Logging companies also have “hired help” from police.

    There is nowhere in the Police Act or the constitution that states that “the role of police is to protect the interests of foreign companies”. Their duty is to the state and its citizens to ensure their rights are protected under law and under the constitution.

    So many blatant abuses of human rights have been reported and ignored by authorities in the past. These types of abuses continue to happen in this day and age.

    Keep up the reporting Radio New Zealand. At least, someone is observant and fearless enough to highlight such abuses.

    Government and major companies, particularly, foreign ones at that, have little respect for the ordinary citizen, and resource owners, contrary to popular belief. Greed is the driving force and so long as they make their profits, human rights abuses seem immaterial to these greedy corporations.

    These resources belong to the people. The people own these resources. Period.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves, Exxon Mobil.

    And likeminded citizens, wake up and do something about these types of abuses and the misuse of police by corporate entities.

  3. Jeff Muno

    Yup this is Exxon’s PNG playbook. They KNOW the only turbulence they will experience is brief bad press, no government agency will investigative or prosecute the golden goose. Look at all past incidents, from fatal disasters through to police executions, Exxon just denies, and it all goes away.

    E.g. http://lngwatchpng.blogspot.com/2012/04/story-of-two-fatal-events-at-png-lng.html

    E.g. http://lngwatchpng.blogspot.com/2010/11/buying-shares-in-rpngc-exxon-mobils-new.html

    E.g. https://www.thenation.com/article/exxonmobils-new-guinea-nightmare/

    E.g. http://lngwatchpng.blogspot.com/2012/04/lng-worker-claims-witnessing-shooting.html

    E.g. http://lngwatchpng.blogspot.com/2012/04/mobile-squads-execute-critics-and.html

  4. Exxon, like all the other corporate thugs always deny the truth to keep their shareholders happy and the governments turn a blind eye. They don’t give a hoot about the landowners or the environment. All that matters is money to the rich and greedy capitalists. The police and military need their pay packets too.

    And in 2018 when PNG hosts the APEC Summit the US military will attend as well. And in case you didn’t see this “the PNG government announced a 120 million kina building to host the summit will be built by Oil Search under its tax credit scheme.

    The 2018 summit will be the first hosted by PNG, and will be attended by 21 leaders from some of the world’s biggest economies.

    The PNG Government has budgeted K800 million to prepare for the event.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-20/papua-new-guinea-starts-apec-2018-preparations/7951444

    U.S. Military Assistance ‘Critical’ For Security When PNG Hosts APEC Leaders Summit
    Submitted by PIR Editor on Wed, 11/30/2016 – 16:03

    Success of 2018 meeting depends on cooperation between U.S. military, PNGDF

    By Miriam Zarriga

    PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 30, 2016) – The co-operation and assistance provided by the US Military is critical for the preparation and provision of safety and security during APEC Leaders’ Summit in 2018.

    The engagement between the US military and the PNGDF generates confidence among our regional economies, said Ivan Pomaleu who is Papua New Guinea’s APEC Ambassador.

    He added that the hosting of APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation – summit was the start of the country’s responsibilities to ensure that all meetings, facilities, venues, logistics, policy focus and security capabilities and programs were delivered at APEC standards.

    “We are also determined that APEC must be inserted into our capacity building and development conversations to ensure that post-2018 we will know that we did delivered a successful APEC year.

    “But that we also able to leave behind officials who have been upgraded in their skills to global standards of practices, whether it be security management, policy development and articulations or leading and developing projects at regional levels.

    “We are also ensuring we leave behind a physical legacy such as new and refurbished infrastructure and facilities for business, government or public use later on,” Mr Pomaleu said.

    He thanked the US Marines for their partnership with the PNGDF and said that it allowed for the full participation and acquisition of high level skills which would enhance PNGDF participation in the security operations in 2018.

    PNG Post-Courier

    http://www.pireport.org/articles/2016/11/30/us-military-assistance-critical-security-when-png-hosts-apec-leaders-summit

  5. Pingback: Exxon-Mobil to assist PNG army deployment to defend LNG sites | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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