Loss of Customary Water Rights
Howard Peter | Secretary, Kulinist Strickland Resource Holders Association
The Strickland & Dumbudu river pollution and the environmental damages by the illegal use of our rightfully owned river system has the denied the rights of the river landowners of their Customary Water use rights since 1989 till now.
Our rights were denied because of the National Government’s failure to carry out its duty to inform the poor landowners before the approval of various water use permits for Porgera Joint Venture on the effects of mine tailings, sediments and mine derived wastes on the environment, river system and the landowners living along the river system.
The denial has led to many sufferings and frustrations by the innocent river landowners who relied on the river for their daily activities. Due to the pollution and environmental damages, the landowners could no longer enjoy these rights and as a result have suffered loss and frustrations and some of their customary water rights are lost forever.
Health Related Problems
The river landowners along each section of the river have experienced a lot of health problems that they have never experienced in their life time. Some form of skin irritation diseases were faced by the landowners who used the polluted river for transport, swimming and even eating fish caught in the polluted river.
Many landowners have died due to these problems since 1990 and till now and they continue to suffer and die in their remote villages that have no access to health services.
Noting these facts , people have suffered greatly due to Department of Environment and Conservation and other responsible state agencies negligence.
Affected communities living along Strickland and Dumbudu river areas now waiting for Hela Provincial Government to look in to these allegations immediately before Barrick PJV exit by selling its 95% shares. Department has continuously ignored our plea to date , HPG to step in and do something to help ol taragu lo ples.
This issue is prolong issue so its time for Hela Provincial government to step in and do something inorder to avoid company sell its stakes of 95% to interested company. I have verbally approached with Hela Provincial government and I also wrote to them but they continuously fail to address my environmental damages and River pollution issues.
TALK ACT ENVIRONMENT WAY!