Whose Right? Forceful Evictions of Informal Settlements from State Land in Papua New Guinea's National Capital District

47 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2021

See all articles by Michelle Nayahamui Rooney

Michelle Nayahamui Rooney

ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, The Australian National University - School of Culture, History & Language

Date Written: November 5, 2021

Abstract

Between 2012 to 2021, the National Capital District (NCD) of Papua New Guinea (PNG) saw numerous forceful evictions of citizens living in its many informal settlements, including some who had lived in these communities for more than 30 years. Some of these evictions involved state land registered to individual title holders. Drawing on discourse and spatial and temporal analytical approaches, this paper uses media reports to map the extent of evictions across the NCD and to identify eviction stories related to state land that are the subject of court cases. It then examines court decisions and other documents related to seven selected case studies to understand how the courts deal with the rights of communities impacted by evictions. The paper finds that the PNG court system focuses on determining the legal property rights over the land in question and court decisions tend to favour the legally registered owner of the title. By contrast, limited attention is given to customary landowners or to ensuring the human rights of communities impacted by evictions are protected. Based on these findings, the paper suggests five policy directions that should be considered to improve NCD’s policies on eviction processes and resettlement of communities.

Keywords: Papua New Guinea, informal settlements, housing policy, evictions, customary landholders, legal rights, human rights, critical discourse analysis

JEL Classification: K11, K4, R21, R31, R52

Suggested Citation

Rooney, Michelle Nayahamui, Whose Right? Forceful Evictions of Informal Settlements from State Land in Papua New Guinea's National Capital District (November 5, 2021). Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 98 (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3957082

Michelle Nayahamui Rooney (Contact Author)

ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, The Australian National University - School of Culture, History & Language ( email )

Canberra
Australia

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