Paga Hill Settlement Community Papua New Guinea

Paga Hill community was established after the Second World War. People have been living there for the last four generations.
They were given the customary user rights to the land.

In 2012, the Paga Hill Development Company, a joint venture founded by local and international investors, was awarded a 99-year business and commercial lease to the area.

One week after the government granted the lease, the company arrived and destroyed the village.

Joe Moses, Paga Hill community leader, took the matter to court. His was the first house to be turned down. Although their evidence was presented, the court ruled in favor of the company.

The community was removed in 2012.
They filed another case before the Supreme Court.
Joe Moses was wanted by the police, his face was all over the news. He had to go into hiding with his family.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the foreshore was not included in the land granted to developers. This decision was welcomed as a victory by the Paga Hill community, but the company obtained the land through a separate lease. Three weeks later, policemen came, destroyed the community, and burned houses into ashes.
This people live in the seafront, it is their life style, but they have been living in tents since 2012 under extreme scarce conditions.
Joe Moses recieved support from Frontline Defenders seeking asylum in the UK. He allegedly was target of intimidation, police harassment, and reprisals for his work defending his community from ilegal land grabbing and forced eviction.

The case was subject of the controversial documentary 'The Opposition', that resulted in its own high profile legal battle.

Along the struggle, Joe Moses recruits a coalition of allies, including politician Dame Carol Kidu, investigator Dr. Kristian Lasslett and a motivated team of pro-bono lawyers, to help him save his community.


1. Joel Abroad; Houses by coconut trees, Badua; September 28, 2019; (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). 2. Google maps. 3. Official logo. 4. Joel Abroad; Houses by pier, Badua; September 28, 2019; (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). 5. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Children at Buk bilong Pikini (books of children). Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; June 5, 2013; (CC BY 2.0). 6. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Gerehu Markets Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; June 7, 2013; (CC BY 2.0).