Environmental group CELCOR office burgled

5 07 2011

The office of the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) was broken into and computer equipment and files containing many years’ data of legal work on environmental cases were stolen over the weekend.

It is believed the criminal elements entered the office through the roof where a hole had been cut into. Only the computers and files belonging to the legal team were targeted, cleaning out all their desks, taking even the lawyers’ gowns. All other computers and office files were left untouched.

This is a devastating blow to an organisation that has continuously stood up for the little people in the rural areas of PNG. They have often joined other partner environmental organisations in taking up the fight of disadvantaged communities against illegal unsustainable logging.

In fact this attack on CELCOR comes in the wake of a successful posting of a victory not more than two weeks ago in which Concord Pacific Limited – an Asian logging firm, was fined K225.5 million. CELCOR represented the four tribes in this case that stretched back to almost 10 years.

Given the systematic nature in which this crime has been committed, it is apparent sabotage was the intent of this attack but it will have to be verified in time. Police are now investigating this case and it is understood security personal on duty during the time of the crime have been suspended, pending investigations.

CELCOR has earlier played a pivotal role in raising the alarm on the Special Agricultural Business Lease  issue, going as far as to the UNCERD who in turn sent a please-explain letter to the PNG government early this year. They have also worked with partners to progressively shift the Oil Palm industry to look more into reducing its expansion while promoting sustainable practises.

Along with CELCOR, the Environmental Law Centre (ELC), a partner NGO who shares office space with CELCOR also had their office files ransacked and destroyed in this attack.

~ero!

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