Social Concerns Notes – May 2013

Govt for death penalty   Post Courier, 29 April, 2013

THE Government is seriously considering the death penalty for crimes against women including rape and sorcery-related killings, says the Attorney General and Justice Minister Kerenga Kua.
However the Catholic Church’s Archbishop for Mt Hagen, Douglas Young, has described the move as a “knee-jerk reaction” which will not be a solution to tackling violence in PNG society.
Mr Kua, in a statement last Friday, acknowledged that public debate was now in favour of using the maximum penalty under the PNG Criminal Code due to the country’s increasing law and order problems.
“The debate has been going on for a while in the public medium and I’ve been monitoring it. 
Most of the people are ready for it (death penalty) and they want it now as they are fed up of the law and order problems in this country and they want to see a more liberal use of the death penalty,” he said. 
Mr Kua said it was time the Government “did something radical” to put an end to increasing crime in PNG. I cannot shut my eye to the people’s request. I’m not deaf, I’m listening. If they want it we will give it to them,” he said. 
But killing a person is not a solution as it perpetuates violence and reinforces the traditional Melanesian practice of vengeance, countered Archbishop Young.
“Will the nation itself model to young men that if someone is bothering them, the best remedy is to simply kill them? It is already well known that the death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime,” he stated in a letter addressed to the local media.
Archbishop Young said the key laid in the enforcement of laws.

Original Letter by Archbishop Young

April 26, 2013

Dear Sir,

The Minister for Community Development, Hon. Loujaya Tony, reminded women at the recent opening of the National Council of Women in Mount Hagen, that every man who turns out to be a rapist, or abuser, or murderer is some mother’s son. She challenged the women to evaluate their child rearing practices as to whether they were in fact teaching boys, and modeling to them, that violence could be a solution to problems and a legitimate way of expressing frustration. Of course there is more to it than that, but the model of problem solving and anger management that parents give is clearly a big part of the problem.

I thought of this comment in the midst of the nation’s current trauma in the face of violence, especially violence against women, now very widespread and serious.

The kneejerk reaction of many, apparently even the Attorney General, is to call for the death penalty. Is this not the same thing that Ms Loujaya warned against? Will the nation itself model to young men that if someone is bothering them, the best remedy is to simply kill them? It is already well known that the death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime. Those who commit these offenses do not believe that they will be caught and even less be actually sentenced. The major deterrent to crime is not the severity of punishment but its certainty. Talk of the death penalty is giving in to the same vengeful streak in PNG culture that is part of our current problem.

What has to happen? Support programs that will help young men to find employment, identity, and satisfaction in life. Strengthen police capacity to find, arrest and prosecute offenders. Give the clear message, if you do this you will be caught and you will be punished. Change cultural norms that encourage the protection of offenders. Let’s turn our attention to policies that will genuinely address the plague of violence in PNG, not those that serve only to further brutalize the nation.

Yours sincerely, Douglas W. Young, SVD

Archbishop of Mount Hagen

Parlt gets tough on serious crimes   Post Courier 30 May

PARLIAMENT has passed amendments to the Criminal Code Act that now increases the penalty for serious crimes including stealing and misappropriation.
Attorney-General and Justice Minister Kerenga Kua yesterday tabled the amendments in the House that was passed on voices.
The Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2013 passed ensures that:
The Sorcery Act 1971 is repealed in its entirety. Killings connected with sorcery are now treated as willful murder, and the penalty is death; 
Aggravated rape now carries the death penalty. This is rape using dangerous weapons, or rape in the company of one or more persons, or where grievious bodily harm is caused, and where the victim is a child under 10 years;
Kidnapping now carries a prison term of 50 years without remission or parole; 
Kidnapping for ransom now carries life imprisonment without remission and parole;
Stealing – two new subsections are inserted to subsection 372. For theft of money between K5 million and K9.99 million the penalty is 50 years without remission and parole;
For stealing K10 million or more the penalty is life imprisonment without parole or remission;

Section 597 is amended which now allows the State a number of modes of execution for a person sentenced to death; 
Subsection 614 now provides the modes of execution which include hanging, lethal injection, medical death by deprivation of oxygen, firing squad, electrification. Which method to be used will be determined by the Head of State on advice from the National Executive Council.

Letter after parliament decision by Abp. Douglas Young – Mt. Hagen

Media reports indicate that Parliament has passed legislation that draws Papua New Guinea closer to the point of legally killing its own citizens. It seems that the legislation was passed “on the voices” thereby making it difficult for many voters to know the actual stand of their own members.

The Attorney General noted that there had been widespread debate in the public forum but he did not indicate who had won the debate, only the decision of the government.

That discussion in the media, the social media, and in other open forums was certainly informative, addressing the main issues that have been covered in other nations: the recognition of the suffering and hurt of the victims of violent crime and their legitimate anger and right to justice, the need for better prevention and protection programs, the tendency of the death penalty to target the poor, the unlikelihood that the rich and powerful would ever be executed, the recognition that corruption probably causes more innocent deaths than murder, the danger of payback against state employees in the PNG context, whether or not victims gain any genuine satisfaction from the death of an offender,  and many other important aspects.

There have also been unsavory aspects to this debate, such as the speculation on the best way to kill someone, suggesting that choking someone to death might be the best way (“deprivation of oxygen”).  Others gave free rein to their vengeful anger suggesting various cruel and painful ways to dispatch someone

The one thing missing from the debate was any evidence whatsoever that the death penalty will deter violent crime. This argument was repeated over and over again without any credible evidence in support. This is because there is none. My own conversations with men and women who have committed violent crime indicate that they are not thinking beyond the release of their anger or passion. Most either expect to get away with it (and usually do) or simply don’t care about the consequences. Criminologists know that it is not the severity of punishment that deters crime but its certainty. Until Papua New Guinea can detect, arrest, convict, and successfully imprison offenders for the duration of their sentence, prospective criminals will assume that they have a good chance of getting away with it.  The current spate of allegation of police brutality and carelessness with weapons also sends the message that punishment in PNG is random.

The trend internationally in modern human societies is to move away from the death penalty. It will be a dark day for PNG at home and internationally when our first citizen is executed.

Lawyer welcomes new laws  The National, Monday 27th May 2013

A PRIVATE lawyer and member of Catholic Professionals Association has welcomed the new set of proposed laws to fight crime. Paul Harricknen said in a statement the proposed law were balanced and would deal with violent assaults and killings, rape and all forms of criminal abuses, sorcery and witchcraft, stealing and corruption. However, Harricknen said he did not support the death penalty.“The state cannot kill to avenge killing. It cannot use violence against violence,” he said. “Two wrongs do not make a right. We must not allow our emotions to rid us of our good conscience, wisdom and the knowledge of God’s presence, His values and counsel. “There is no need for death penalty if the criminal justice system and the public service machinery function effectively and bring certainty to the system.“Our public servants, police and law enforcement agencies need help to change deficiencies in discipline, work attitude and officials’ corruption. Harricknen applauded the proposed penalties for stealing, misappropriation and corruption in the public sector and the establishment of the overdue Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Comments by Attorney General Kerenga Kua

These may be heard at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/asia-pacific/png-attorneygeneral-says-death-penalty-not-quick-cure-for-crime/1138790

Amnesty: Revival of death penalty regressive  The National, 30th May 2013

HUMAN rights watchdog Amnesty International says Papua New Guinea’s move to revive the death penalty is a regressive step, branding it State-sanctioned violence. Parliament on Tuesday passed laws allowing execution by a range of methods, including hanging, electrocution, lethal injection and firing squad while repealing the Sorcery Act. Parliament also promised to extend the long-dormant death penalty to cover rape, robbery and murder, actions that Amnesty’s deputy director for the Asia-Pacific Isabelle Arradon said were counter-productive. “Papua New Guinea has taken one step forward in protecting women from violence by repealing the Sorcery Act, but several giant steps back by moving closer to executions,” she told AAP. “The taking of a life – whether a person is beheaded by villagers or killed by the state – represents an equally abhorrent violation of human rights. “The Government has failed to heed calls from civil society to not start killing prisoners again.

Catholic archbishop criticises death penalty   The National, 30th May 2013

PORT Moresby’s Catholic Archbishop John Ribat says the death penalty for a variety of crimes passed by Parliament on Tuesday would not stem the crime wave in the country. “It is not the way forward and will not answer our country’s law and order problems at the moment,” Ribat said yesterday. “The Government should have just left the life sentence as maximum sentence for a person rather than giving the green light to allow execution of people,” he said. “We are a Christian nation and according to our Constitution we are recognised as such. “How can the Government of the day see fit to introduce the death penalty when it knows that it is against our very own Constitution?” he asked. “The Government has also seen fit to pass the law without proper consultation and especially awareness being done in villages, communities and the society at large like it was done in the past with the passing of other laws and amendments,” he said. Ribat urged the Government to work closely with church leaders and others from all levels of the society to find ways to address the problems that would arise as a result of the death penalty law. “A lot of work will be involved to make sure how best we can properly address the result of implementing the death penalty,” he said.

Thousands in ‘Walk Against Corruption’  Post Courier, 27 May

OVER 2000 people took to the streets in Port Moresby yesterday. The chair of the PNG Chapter of Transparency International, Lawrence Stephens, was elated at the show of support by individuals and organisations from both the Government and private sectors. Speaking on the theme of the event, Mr Stephens said TIPNG and its supporters wanted Papua New Guineans to know everyone 
can personally make a difference. 
But PNG’s corruption eradication record, in terms of the ability of various state institutions to independently act and prosecute wrongdoers, has been mixed in recent years with the TIPNG chair making reference to the Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra as well as the various commissions of inquiry findings and recommendations which are yet to be implemented.
“There’s been no response to PNG’s commissions of inquiry and we still have (Djoko) Tjandra running around with a PNG passport,” he said.

Brutal treatment of suspects   The National, Tuesday 28th May 2013

ABOUT 30 men were chopped on their Achilles tendon  as they lay facing down allegedly by two policemen while others stood guard, a policeman said yesterday. The policeman, who provided pictures of the injured civilians, expressed his shock and horror at the injuries done to the men, mostly from the Morobe settlement at 9-Mile outside Port Moresby. “I cried as I was taking pictures of the wounded men at Gordon police barracks,” he said. “The Gordon police cells looked like an abattoir with bloodied men lying in their blood.” The incident had its beginning in a fight at 8-Mile settlement outside Port Moresby following the slaying of a young Morobean youth by suspects. Police, led by Gordon police station commander Insp John Tarur, were called in to ease tensions and on Sunday. A group carrying bush knives were told by police to walk to Gordon police station because they were too many to transport. The group volunteered to walk peacefully, according to our police informant. At the end of the Jackson’s Airport two police cars drove alongside and ordered everyone to lie face down on the ground, he said. And that is when two policemen in uniform proceeded to chop the men behind their heels with bush knives.

Highlands-sorcery killings rife
   Post Courier 30 April, 2013

MANY suspects in sorcery-related murders are roaming freely because police investigations are limited by the laws under the Criminal Code Act. 
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander John Kale yesterday said police investigations were made even more difficult when suspects in sorcery-related killings, as well as whole communities, did not co-operate with police to protect alleged sorcerers or catch perpetrators of violence against those blamed for being sorcerers. 
Supt Kale said: “Police have limits in investigation. Under the Criminal Code Act that deals with murder and wilful murder, we act only upon evidence. If there is no evidence, our work stops there.”
Chief Kale said this after declaring that sorcery related murders in Okapa district was getting out of hand as another man was killed on Sunday. 
Over a week ago, one man was hacked to death in Tumuki village of Okapa District while the latest victim, a young man, was killed in Waisa village, in south Okapa.
The perpetrators hid the body of the man when police turned up to investigate. Mr Kale said. 
He said though they knew there was a killing, when the body was hidden with nobody giving evidence, police work was stopped.

Last week in the Gumine District of Chimbu province, a mother and her teacher son were murdered and thrown into a toilet pit over allegations of sorcery. 
The bodies of three women were also discovered in Kamaliki outside Goroka town two weeks ago while another man was hacked to death in Banz, Jiwaka Province last week.

New group to focus on sorcery-related killings  The National, 30th April 2013

THE rise in sorcery-related killings of women recently has prompted the formation of a group who want to address the issue. 
Volunteers, public servants and social workers from churches, non-governmental organisations, government agencies, civil groups and women councils met last Friday in Port Moresby to form the group. 
Chairperson Ume Wainetti of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council said they hoped to identify the best possible way to address the issue and create a network to end violence against women especially if they were sorcery-related. One of the steps identified was to create more awareness in the rural areas on how the justice system worked and the revised Sorcery Act.

College sex scam exposed   The National, Thursday 30th May 2013

A female student assaulted by a teacher’s wife after exposing a teacher-student sex scam has agreed to an out-of-court settlement, police said. According to the student, the assault stemmed from an alleged sexual abuse by a male teacher. Police in Kokopo said the incident happened at the Kokopo Business College in East New Britain. The student told police she had given her assignment to the teacher to check but he told her later that the only way she would get the assignment back was to have sex with him. Students at the college were aware of the practice by some teachers, alleging that male students were sometimes asked to pay K50 or more to get their exam results. A lecturer at the college has confirmed the incident report has been prepared and a copy forwarded to the principal after the incident occurred. A concerned parent said the reason his son had to redo a subject this year was not because he failed academically but because he refused to pay a K50 to attain results of the exams.

Manus centre unfit for woman, children   Post Courier, 2 May, 2013

MANUS asylum seekers detention centre is unfit for children to be kept there.
That’s from a doctor who was in charge of the centre who says the facility is “too remote” and under-resourced to safely house children, and that the health clinic has “very little in the way of paediatric equipment”.
Dr John Vallentine, who worked at the centre between November and December last year, revealed this in an interview with ABC’s Four Corner program. “For the first time in my life I felt ashamed to be an Australian, up there seeing this squandering of money. It’s just a remote, silly place to be putting people,” Dr Vallentine said.

Pastor: Porn sold at Batas   The National, 1st May 2013

A PASTOR has warned people to stay away from the pornographic materials and drugs to improve sexual performance sold at the PNG Indonesian Trade Center at Batas.
Assemblies of God church northern regional Supt Pastor Ivan Lesley said nude pictures and sexual explicit pictures loaded on flash drives and memory cards were sold at stalls in Batas.
“They are also selling medicines and injections for males and females to improve their sexual performances which directly contradict our Christian belief,” he said.
“I call on all citizens of our country to be wary of this danger which is set to cause disunity among families and put our children’s future at stake.”
He said these materials had already been brought across the border and sold in Vanimo, Aitape, Wewak and Maprik.
He urged people to be careful about choosing electronic devices and equipment such as flash drives, memory cards, cameras, computers and mobile phones sold on the street and in some shops.
“It’s very dangerous also for our children because most of them have mobile phones and can easily access these pictures from memory cards,” he said.

Soso sends invite for national prayer day   The National, 1st May 2013

EASTERN Highlands governor Julie Soso is inviting church elders around the country to be part of the “biggest ever National Repentance Day” celebration in Goroka on Aug 26.
She said PNG was a Christian country and the event would showcase the force of unity among all denominations. They will pray for the nation, the development boom and the increase in violent crimes. “We must pray that negative behaviours change,” she said.
“Papua New Guineans are so blessed – we have surplus of resources including fertile land, minerals, cash crops and many more.
“God has richly blessed us and we have no reason to say we are poor or hungry or compare ourselves to people suffering in Africa.”

High internet rates hinder progress   The National, 1st May 2013

HIGH internet rates are hindering development and restricting access to education, health and employment opportunities, according to a US Embassy official.
Public affairs officer Natalia Capel said: “The cost of the internet in Papua New Guinea is the highest in the region and the second highest worldwide.
“The high cost acts as a barrier to the flow of ideas, information and innovation. 
“When we think of the saying ‘information is power’ most of us think of education because we know that education is power. 
“Well, what if I told you that anyone in PNG could take classes from the best university in the United States – 14,550km away – completely free of charge? This is possible thanks to the power of the internet.”
Increasing affordable access to the internet and technology is a key part of our overarching goal to help Papua New Guinea grow its economy in a way that is inclusive, sustainable and transparent.”

Solomons: PM should blame himself, says Wale  Solomon Star 02 May 2013

PRIME Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has been the person acting unlawfully on the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC), according to Opposition’s Mathew Wale.In his response to the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday, which accused editor of the report Bishop Terry Brown, Mr Wale said Mr Lilo acted unlawfully by delaying the report. The Prime Minister yesterday described Bishop Terry Brown’s action as irresponsible and unlawful.

Bishop Brown from Canada who served on Malaita in the past years was the editor of the report. He leaked the report on Sunday to media outlets and other social network members via email.

But Mr Wale said the TRC Act stated very clearly that upon receiving the TRC report, the PM must present the report to parliament without any delay. The report was handed over to the Prime Minister by Chairman of the TRC Fr Sam Ata, in February last year. The Prime Minister have been repeatedly urge by the public to release the report without any delay, but he refused on grounds the report was too large and sensitive.

War on Corruption or Crime   PNG Blogs, May 3, 2013

The rest of the country has joined the bandwagon of the government and the opposition to declare war on crime in Papua New Guinea – in response to the recent surge in violent crimes across the country. Sadly, we have waited too long only to react after so many innocent and precious lives have been taken away prematurely by those who have no regard for human life nor understand their own existence in our human society. Nothing we say or do now will ever replace nor return those lives. Before jumping on the bandwagon, there are critical and fundamental questions still remain and need to be asked and answered if we are to find a lasting solution.In countries such as the USA where the death penalty is applied, it never prevents offenders from committing such crimes. If such crimes can still be committed in a very powerful, rich, everyone literate, have access to information and have severe penalties, PNG must be prepared to take a extra step and dig deep to find a lasting solution. To find the root causes, one must prepared to ask the question – PNG is relatively a rich country in terms of natural resources with a small population and a large land mass but why it is poor struggling to address its escalating law and order problems? It is because of corruption, which, for the last 37 years, we have been letting it to grow systematic and systemic?

Call to legalise brothels   The National, 2nd May 2013

TWO sex workers in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, want the government to legalise brothels to help minimise the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.
The sex workers, a mother of two and a divorced wife, told The National that the high cost of living in the city forced young girls, divorced women and even some with their husbands to turn into prostitution to earn their living and support their families.
They said girls as young as 15 years joined other sex workers out on the streets at night time because their parents could not afford to buy necessary items such as mobile phones, nice shoes and clothes or give them money and others things they needed or wanted in life.
“Young girls want to dress up like other girls who work in office where they have many good things and go out to socialise,” said one of the women.
One of them said when their parents failed to provide, the girls turned to prostitution to earn fast money.

Tortured women released, with family   Post Courier 3 May, 2013

THE three women tortured and held for suspected sorcery in South Bougainville are now with their family members.
The mother and two daughters were set free and transported to Buka general hospital for treatment to their injuries late last week. The three spent some days recovering in the Surgery Ward and are reportedly still traumatised by their ordeal.
They have now gone to stay with their families in an attempt to get some normalcy back into their lives.
 The women had been accused of sorcery and tortured along with other family members at the beginning of last month. One woman Helen Rumbali was killed whilst other family members managed to escape.
Meanwhile, the family members who escaped the attackers say they were let down by police during the incident.
In a statement, the Bougainville police said the officers were heavily outnumbered and the mob had superior weaponry at the time of the incident.
“All attackers were armed with grass knives, high-powered guns and other weapons,” said the police who were forced to retreat from the scene.
The victims agreed that there was little the police could do but said they were filled with fear when the police left them.

PNG Needs more midwives   The National 6 May, 2013

Health training institutions need manpower and resources to provide quality training to midwives, president of the PNG Midwifery Society, Dr Nancy Buasi, says.  In PNG, we try to train more midwives but cannot due to lack of resources and training capacity.”  Buasi said previously UPNG was the only institution that trained midwives but now the Pacific Adventist University, Divine Word University and University of Goroka also offered courses on midwifery. She said the Vunapope School of Nursing in East New Britain would commence the training programme next year. She added that the current quota of student intake at UPNG was only 20 per year and with AusAID on board to fund the programme that would include development of training facilities. “But we need manpower to provide quality training. The last national health plan stipulated that by the year 2010 all health facilities would have one midwife each especially in the rural areas but we have not reached that.

Low Ranking for PNG Mothers   Post Courier 15 May, 2013.

Papua New Guinea ranks among bottom 20 in the state of the World’s Mothers. That is according to Carolyn Mile, President and CEO of Save the Children. While commemorating Mothers Day, Save the Children’s annual Mother’s index released a report. The CEO The State of the World’s Mothers is … strong. In Finland, that is. Or anywhere in Scandinavia. And most of Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. They all place in the top 20 of Save the Children’s annual Mothers’ Index. But motherhood in sub-Saharan Africa is a very tough proposition. The region has all 10 of the most difficult places for mothers in this year’s ranking, with conflict-plagued Democratic Republic of the Congo last on the list. Among the bottom 20, only Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Yemen are in other regions of the world.

Mother’s Index Ratings  http://www.savethechildrenweb.org/SOWM-2013/

PNG ranks 158/176 on the Mother’s Index Ratings.  Solomons ranks 133/176

A note on interpreting the index rankings.  Rankings reflect a composite score derived from five different indicators related to maternal well-being (i.e. maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, economic status and political status). Consistently strong performance across the five indicators yields a higher ranking, the highest being 1/176 (Finland). Similarly, consistently poor performance across the five indicators yields a lower ranking 176/176 (Congo).

Assaults ruin Mother’s Day  The National, 14th May 2013

IT was Mother’s Day with a difference in Madang as more than 50 women reported to police on Sunday that they had been assaulted.
Police said the women who lodged their complaints at the Jomba police station came from the settlements in town where gang fighting, stoning of vehicles and wife-beatings ruled the day.
The police registry at Jomba confirmed that women came from as far as Billiau Maus Rot settlement and Siar village outside Madang.
Staff officer to Madang PPC Gage Dumop also said a woman from Newtown shouted along the street and smashed a bottle of beer outside his front yard.
“We respect mothers but some were not celebrating its true meaning,” Dumop said.
He said many women celebrated the day by consuming alcohol and misbehaving in public.
At Billiau Maus Rot settlement, two women from the area stopped traffic on the main road as they fought.

Statistics show more people seeking help  Post Courier, 13 May, 2013

THE Buka District Court in Bougainville has been issuing more Interim Protection Orders (IPOs) in recent times than previously.
This could be an indication of an increase in violence against women and children in Buka and Bougainville or it could be due to an awareness on IPOs.
An IPO is a court order granted to protect a victim, whether male or female and their dependants from continuous violence inflicted on them while awaiting a main court order.
This type of violence can be in the form of mental, physical or verbal abuse.
Statistics released by the Public Solicitors Office show that in 2012 alone, a total of 61 IPOs were issued, mostly by women and their children against their abusive husbands and fathers.
In North Bougainville, two were taken out by husbands against their abusive wives.

 Headmaster: Overcrowding a concern  The National, 13th May 2013

THE national government’s free education policy is causing overcrowding in a number of classrooms, a school headmaster in Western Highlands says.
Many parents who could not afford to send their children to school in the past enrolled them because it was free.
Tambul High School headmaster James Pini said they were finding it hard to accommodate the increase in the number of students.
He said one Grade 10 class had 60 students which was a big concern. 
The normally accepted ratio is one teacher to between 30 and 40 students in a class. Pini said classrooms and dormitories were the main problems.

Gillard: PNG Women, Rise up  Post Courier 15 May, 2013

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has urged women in Papua New Guinea to rise up and play an equal role in the future of the country’s development. She made these comments when visiting the all girls Catholic school, Marianville Secondary, last Friday, where she was opening a classroom funded by AusAid. In her address to the students she said “what I wish for your future is what I wish for the future of Australian girls: I wish for a future where you are safe wherever you go, a future where you have equal employment opportunities, a future where – with hard work and determination – you can become your country’s leaders, whether that is in politics, in business, in civil society, in education. That there is no door closed; that every door in PNG is open to a girl who is prepared to work hard.”

Judge: Fly River Govt needs to wake up, serve the people  The National 13 May 2013

Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika has called on the Fly River government to wake up and provide basic services to the people of Western. He said the province should not rely too heavily on Ok Tedi and the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd. He said this last Friday when a lawyer representing the Ok Tedi mine impacted area landowners told the court that the people in Western lacked basic services such as clean and safe drinking water and healthcare as a result of the court tussle over the funds withheld in the Western province people dividend trust account. “Fly River government must wake up from sleep. If not they are still sleeping and the people must blame their government for not delivering up to the expectations,” Salika said. He said it was the responsibility of the government to administer and provide services to the people. “Fly River government should not wait for Ok Tedi and PNGSDP to develop Western. It is your responsibility,” he said.

National Haus Krai Begins  The National 15 May 2013

Speaking at the opening of the two-day national haus krai (house of mourning) at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, organised by Women Arise Movement, Opposition leader Belden Namah said it was a time for both government and opposition and put aside their differences and work together. In moving scenes at the stadium, women, children, and men – as well as those in other provincial centres and around the world – joined hands together to sing and pray for an end to the violence that has brought the country to its knees. The people continued an all night vigil and will continue their praying and singing until 1pm today when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, ministers and MPs are scheduled to meet them.  Women Arise Movement leader Esther Igo said her movement was approaching the haus krai in a very prayerful manner. “We’re challenging the churches to do something now,” she said. “Violence has reached unprecedented levels, so what are you (churches) preaching about?

Hagen school joins in Haus Krai  The National, 20th May 2013

HOLY Trinity Primary school in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, commemorated the sufferings of women in the province during the national haus krai last week.
Teachers wore black and students were in their uniforms as they packed the school ground with banners and poems about how women in PNG were treated.
The students and staff marked the mourning day in the school grounds while other schools were seen marching to the Queens Park oval in Mt Hagen.
Moments of silence were observed as the students and teachers bowed their heads to remember how many women in the country had fallen victims to domestic violence, abuse, rape and murder.
Female student representative Paula Tepa, a Grade 8 student, spoke about becoming a woman in PNG.
“As I’m heading towards reaching adulthood, I will one day face the challenges that my sisters and mothers are going through,” she told the large crowd
Tepa said she believed that the major contributing factor causing pain and struggles in the lives of many women in PNG was the practice of polygamy.
“This is the root cause, and can the government impose laws for polygamy marriages in our society?
“It is a very sad and shocking situation when we see and read of the silent suffering of girls being raped, mothers stabbing mothers who are in polygamous marriages and many more,” she said.

Committee brokers peace among tribes in Kandep  The National, 21st May 2013

A PEACE restoration committee has made a breakthrough in brokering a peace deal among warring tribes in Kandep district, Enga.
The tribes have agreed to surrender arms to the authorities.
The committee was able to bring leaders of the warring tribes to Wabag through Mendi in Southern Highlands and Laiagam in Enga last Friday. 
Supt Welia said the two main tribes engaged in a guerilla-type war for 12 months were Akulya and Kambirip. 
More than 10,000 people in eight council wards have been badly affected after the tribes started attacking each other using guns, he said.
“They have been killing each other and destroying millions of kina worth of public and private property for 12 months,” he said. Kandep district administrator Ben Basawe said more than 100 lives were lost while property worth millions of kina were destroyed.

Policy on child labour   The National, 22nd May 2013

DISCUSSIONS are underway to develop the first national policy on child labour in Papua New Guinea.
Stakeholders from various government agencies, non governmental organisations, faith-based organisations and donor agencies have gathered in Port Moresby since Monday for the Child Labour National Action Plan forum, spearheaded by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations. Issues include:

Lack of local data on child labour in PNG – objective: By 2013, more qualitative CL research be conducted in PNG;

Lack of awareness and advocacy on child labour in Papua New Guinea – objective: By 2014, 80% of the population is able to understand and fairly interpret the issues;

Situation and age of service delivery staff   (Source: PNG Case Studies in Maternal Health, 2013)

There is one national teaching hospital in PNG and 19 provincial hospitals; 45 urban clinics; approximately 700 health centers; and more than 2,000 aid posts (of which approximately 67% were open in 2011). Principal categories of health staff include doctors, registered nurses and midwives, health extension workers, and community health workers (CHWs). Church-based groups provide about half of all rural health services. Overall, 16% of the workforce in 2009 was aged 55 years or older and therefore eligible for retirement. Another 38% of the workforce was in the 45–55 age group, and will reach retirement age over the next decade. Overall, approximately 54% of staff will need to be replaced over the next decade. This trend was most marked for nurse midwives, of whom 79% were at retirement age or will reach retirement age during the next decade. Only 12% of staff in 2009 were younger than 35 years of age. The workforce is aging, and is not being effectively replaced.

17% increase in student enrolments   Post Courier 23 May, 2013

EDUCATION Minister James Marape has announced a 17 percent increase in student enrolments for basic education throughout the country from 53-70 percent as a result of the government’s tuition fee-free policy.
Mr Marape, who is also Finance Minister said this when responding to questions during Question Time in Parliament yesterday.
He said the O’Neill governments free education policy was a direct intervention to give opportunities to all children to have access to basic education.
“What is the objective of the intervention? Two or three years ago our statistics showed that 53 percent of school age children were enrolled in schools,” Minister Marape said.
“Today, I am happily to announce that we have made a slight improvement and 70 percent of school age children are in class throughout the country as a direct result of the government’s tuition fee-free education policy.
“Free education has seen an increase in enrolments in schools. As I speak, the problem we have is lack of space in classrooms and teacher houses but our student enrolments figure now stands at 70 percent.

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