History of Melanesia|
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 19:09:04 -0500
Sender: "NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information" <NATIVE-L@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU>
Subject: Pavuvu Island, Solomon Islands
Original Sender: email@example.com
Greenpeace Calls on the Solomon Island Government to Withdraw Army from Russell Islands
Greenpeace today called on the Solomon Island Government to withdraw the Defence Force from Russell Islands, and listen to the wishes of the Landowners and halt the planned logging of the Pavuvu Island by Malaysian company Marvin Bros Ltd.
"It's a national disgrace that the government supports the Malaysian company interests ahead of the customary landowners of the Russell Islands," said Greenpeace Solomon campaigner Lawrence Makili.
"The indigenous Russell Islanders are the customary owners of Pavuvu Island not the government. The government should back off, pull the logging machinery and army out, and let the people decide for themselves the future of their lands.
The Solomon Island Government has given permission to Malaysian company Marvin Brothers Ltd to clearfell (log) the forests of pavuvu, develop an agriculture project, and then return it to the Russell Island landowners.
"The question has to be asked, 'Who is going to benefit from the logging?' It's clear that the landowners will just get the crumbs after the company and the government have taken the big slices of the valuable timber pie,"Makili said.
"Greenpeace is supporting the customary rights of the indigenous Russell Islander to their forests. Greenpeace is opposed to violent means to resolve any conflict and is promoting a peaceful solution.
We call on the Solomon Island government to withdraw the army Defence Force field unit sent to the Russell Islands to protect the recently arrived company equipment".
In the Nineteenth century Pavuvu Island was taken from the customary landowners by the British and leased to Levers company. The company still holds a current lease but the government claims it as'Alienated Land' owned by the government of the Solomon Islands. The government has a policy of returning all alienated lands to their customary owners.
"The land should be returned immediately to the indigenous Russell Islanders for them to develop responsibly, such as through planned 'ecotimber' and 'ecotourism.' Logging is both not what the traditional landowners themselves want, and will leave them with a destroyed forest, polluted water, and dead reefs," Lawrence Makili said.