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.
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.