Social Concerns Notes – November 2015

Brave Simbu woman stands up for others

Post Courier, November 27, 2015

Mrs Josephine Durua has won the Bravery and Courage award of the CPL Pride of Papua New Guinea Awards for Women. When receiving the award at the Parliament State Function Room last Thursday, along with the other five awardees, the Chimbu woman used the opportunity to do more advocacy on this issue by drumming it to her listeners that false accusations of women of witchcraft and sorcery must stop. She lives and works in Morata in Port Moresby, a Moresby Northwest suburb that was at one stage notorious for criminal activities. Apart from being the court magistrate, Mrs Durua has gone an extra-mile by voluntarily being engaged as a counsellor to women who have become victims of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands. Despite her position in the community, she was accused of practising sorcery and witchcraft by a female pastor in 2001. She said she was shocked when she learned why her own immediate family, including her children were mistreating her. She lived with stigma and was often assaulted with bush knives and axes (aside from countless threats) by her own husband and his relatives. In 2001, she took the pastor to District Court at downtown Port Moresby which ruled in her favour. Despite these challenges, Mrs Durua continues to serve the Morata community. She is currently the Morata Village Court Magistrate. Apart from her court duties, she continues to assist women who suffer from various forms of violence.

 

Health yet to be free

The National, Wednesday November 18th, 2015

THE Government’s free primary health care policy is yet to be realised by the people, a parliamentary committee has been told. The parliamentary committee on public sector reform and service delivery chaired by Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa has been hearing submissions from officials on issues they face in the delivery of health services. The hearing ends today with top Health Department officials meeting the committee members. Sister-in-charge of the Malahang health centre in Lae, Daisy Basa, told the committee yesterday that the centre continued to charge sick people fees in order to keep the facility operating. The clinic was allocated K12,500 in 2013, all of which had been exhausted. It is yet to receive its allocation from the 2014 and 2015 national budgets. Western province health officials who appeared before the committee on Monday shared similar concerns on the lack of funding to effectively implement health programme.

 

Madang inmates share experiences to inspire public

Post Courier, November 20, 2015

Inmates of Madang’s Beon jail have started sharing their experiences in public as part of an outreach program aimed at making Madang safe again. The initiative, which has been orchestrated by the Prison Fellowship Care Group of Beon, started last week and is planned to run for another three weeks. The program will have convicted persons currently serving time at Beon going out to public areas and trouble hotspots to share their stories on what led them to prison and what prison life has been like for them. According to chairman of the Prison Fellowship Madang Care Martin Hawek, the group visited Gum and Jomba Primary School yesterday after having brief public sharing sessions at the markets and populated areas around Madang. Mr Hawek, who has been with the prison fellowship for the past fifteen years, said that students and teachers were significantly moved as they listened to the testimonies of some of the most notorious criminals in Madang. “All in attendance at our sessions were very attentive and seemed impacted when we were leaving. “I know that a life change is not something that happens overnight, but in allowing some of the criminal elements of the town to see their so-called elders who are serving time, they are given an opportunity to change their ways and make possible healthy choices.”

 

Refugee policy endorsed

The National, Monday October 26th, 2015

CABINET has endorsed a national refugee policy, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato. “Papua New Guinea has a proud tradition of helping people in need,” he said. “This policy affirms our humanitarian values and our strong regional leadership.”

The five key principles are that PNG recognises the rights of refugees in accordance with its commitments under the 1951 Convention on the status of refugees and related 1967 protocol, and the principles of this policy and incorporates these within national legislation. That PNG is committed to working with other countries and international organisations to provide protection to refugees and combat people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transitional crime. That PNG may enter into arrangements with other countries or international organisations for processing asylum seekers’ claims and where appropriate settlement of refugees. He said the policy covered all refugees in the country, including those from Indonesia’s Papua province and non-Melanesian refugees who either arrived independently or were transferred under arrangements with Australia.

 

Vision-impaired Emmanuel Simon has completed his big test

25 October 2015 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/10/vision-impaired-emmanuel-simon-

has-completed-his-big-test.html

AS Grade 12 students throughout Papua New Guinea prepare for their national examinations, vision-impaired Emmanuel Simon from Rosary Secondary School, Kondiu, is comfortably in tune with all of them. Emmanuel and Clency Amos, both of whom are vision impaired, were enrolled for the first time into the formal education system last year – Clency in Year 9 and Emmanuel in Year 11. At Rosary Secondary School, the subject teachers rose to the challenge of adapting their teaching-learning strategies to accommodate the two students. Mingende Callan Services engaged a full time staffer specialising in Braille to adjust the tests and assignments for each subject. It was an interesting year for the subject teachers and the two special needs students. The striking characteristics found in these vision-impaired students have been their patient and perseverance.

Clency and Emmanuel have lived up to the motto, “Don’t look at my disability; look at my ability.”

 

Call to end sorcery violence

Post Courier, October 29, 2015

THE United States has come out clearly against sorcery-related violence, US Ambassador Walter North said yesterday in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province, at a sorcery-related violence forum.

Mr North, was also in the province to recognise the many courageous heroes who raised their voices to challenge sorcery violence. The US Embassy has called on the provincial police authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the senseless acts of brutal violence inflicted on three women and one man in Mendi, highlighted in the Post-Courier anti-sorcery campaign last week.

The US had also called for appropriate resources and attention to be dedicated to addressing these crimes. “Too often this sort of violence goes unreported and occurs without the perpetrators being held accountable,” the embassy said in a statement. “Adequate and timely response by the police and judicial system is needed to deter future crimes and hold perpetrators responsible for their actions.

 

Students jailed for sorcery related killing

Post Courier, October 28, 2015

A grade 12 student in one of the Secondary schools in the Southern Highlands and his accomplice involved in the torture and killing of a suspected sorcerer have been sentenced to 42 years in total.

Southern Highlands provincial police commander Superintendent Sibro Papoto said the National Court in Mendi recently convicted the two men to 21 years each for murdering a man and burning his home after suspecting him as a sorcerer. He said as a result of quick police action to apprehend and charge the two offenders, the court was able to impose the penalty on the two men, signaling a greater warning to those involved in sorcery related violence like torture and killings. Superintendent Papoto said in relations to the recent torture of three people at Wau, Kumin and Kave, near Mendi town that police managed to rescue the victims but they would not arrest any suspect as the entire community is concealing all the information from police. He said it is making the work of police more difficult because the victims and community even cannot come forward to give evidence or even register their complaints. Mr Papoto said another sorcery related victim was also rescued by police from more torture but the victim had gone into hiding and is not cooperating with police to provide evidence.

He said another suspected victim was also rescued at Pokrapul village in the Imbongu district.

“ I commend my policemen who have tried under all difficult circumstances to assist the suspects but its it’s the entire community involved in torturing and hiding all information, making it so difficult, “he said. He said it need a collective approach involving the police, courts, churches and the civil societies to address such issues through awareness and education.

 

Address sorcery related violence now, says North

Post Courier November 04, 2015

THE United States Ambassador Walter North said PNG cannot wait 100 years to address sorcery related violence. Speaking last week during the sorcery accusation related violence forum in Mendi, organised by the Catholic Diocese of Mendi and Tari, the US envoy said Papua New Guinea cannot wait 100 years to be delivered of the burden of belief in sorcery. “I choose to see the voices that challenge. I hear the voices of those Catholic sisters and others who risk injury to stop the violence. I stand in awe of the men and women in villages that care for victims. “I cherish the courage of those victims who share their stories. I applaud the men and women, working daily to end the violence in this country. These voices will not be silenced. They inspire and challenge us not to give up, not to lose hope and not to surrender to despair.”

Ambassador North said he has every confidence that their energy and their dedication, day in and day out, can transform PNG from “the land of the unexpected” into a nation where expectations of human dignity and lives free of violence are met. He said he had been in PNG for nearly three years and has found a strong foundation of reason empathy and self-control in many Papua New Guineans that he has met. “Channelling those positives into a reduction and elimination of sorcery related violence is imperative. In this regard, I fully endorse the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement that citizens and the Government have to work closer to communities… to change attitudes so we can stamp this out.

“To parapharase former President Bill Clinton, ‘there is nothing wrong with [PNG] that can’t be fixed with what is right in [PNG],” the US Ambassador said.

 

Warning on sorcery killing

The National, November 4th, 2015

TORTURING and killing people accused of sorcery is a criminal offence, lawyer Miranda Forsyth says. She has expertise in criminal law in the Pacific Islands, especially Vanuatu. She said there was no defence for someone who believed that a person tortured was a sanguma. Speaking to stakeholders at Kumin in Southern Highlands, she said sorcery-related killings were prevalent in the province.

She said the courts in the past 20 years had not accepted the excuse of Sanguma as a mitigating factor during sentencing. “The courts have been saying these cases are really serious and we want to stop them from happening so we will give serious penalties,” she said.  “So some cases people have been given penalties of 50 years imprisonment. But the problem with this law at the moment is its implementation. “We hear that people are afraid to lodge complaints or be witnesses in fear of retaliation. It handicaps the work of the police,” she said. She said the Sorcery Act 1971 was rarely used. “People should go to village courts if someone is accused of witchcraft or sanguma as they still have the jurisdiction to deal with sorcery cases,” she said. “In their regulations there is reference to a number of offences such as practising or pretending to practise sorcery, threatening another person with sorcery practised by another, possessing implement used to practised sorcery and paying or offering to pay a person to perform the act of sorcery. These are all provisions that were the Village Court Act 1974.” It is about time people’s mindset  should change and accept the fact that there are natural causes of death.

 

Bilum Industry Sustainable

Post-Courier, 30 October, 2015

Most of the times when men sell coffee and get their earnings, a small portion of this is given to the families and they get to keep the rest which usually does not last. Women on the other hand tend to keep the family together through the selling of their garden produce and since women in that particular region are known for their different styles of bilums, they sell that to earn money for the family which actually keeps them going. Ms Kamel said: “I am very thankful to take up the training which BEPA has facilitated to help us understand things such as colour theory, cataloguing and measurement. “Those were some of the things that I have been aiming for in this industry so that I would be able to train other women who are in my group to weave something that will be sold to meet expected demands from our clients both locally and internationally.” Ms Kamel said that, at the moment, women weave to sell at the local market to earn a kina that will actually sustain their family. And with what little knowledge that she has and has passed on to those women, she has helped them very much in getting most of their children in school. Today, if by chance you go to Goroka you will see that almost all of these women have their children in school while they concentrate on doing their sales for the sustainability of their families.

 

El Nino Hits Highlands Worse, Depletes Food Supplies

The National, 27 October

Farmers and people generally in the drought-affected Highlands region have less than two months before their livelihood worsens, says Simbu Governor Noah Kool. Kool said the El Nino issue was getting more serious and all stakeholders including the Government must put more emphasis on it as people’s lives were at stake with the depletion of food and water resources. Kool was part of a delegation from five highlands provincial governments that were in Port Moresby to get drought relief help from Kumul Petroleum Holdings. “The rivers are drying up and the people are starting to feel the effects. There is limited food available but in another two months the people will really suffer and people are likely to die, and that’s the seriousness of the drought in the provinces. We are looking for ways to equip ourselves so we can in turn help our own people,” Kool said. Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas when sharing Kool’s concern said the National Government should look at asking other countries for assistance. “We have been struggling and we have been asking the Government to see this as a very serious problem.

 

Kiloe: mining, curse and blessing

Solomon Star, 31 October 2015

CHOISEUL premier Jackson Kiloe says mining development in the country can be a curse or a blessing depending on how we do it. Premier Kiloe highlighted this at the national mining forum this week. “Whether its procedures are done thoroughly or inaccurate, this determines its outcome sooner or later with more dealings ahead,” said the Choiseul premier. He also expressed grave concern on how people consider money more important than the natural environment and resources as people with ignorant attitude foresee nothing in front but the dollar sign. “This is happening in every due process known and those responsible knew that very well, yet decide to go down the path of money matters more than life in the environment. “It is our call, for those who knew it’s wrong to go back home and inform the rural people of such self-fish attitude minded people,” Mr Kiloe stated. He noted the ignorant practice as such leading to even forgetting those rightful resource and landowners in negotiations. “There is more to life than just money. “People and the natural environment must be considered in any decisions around mining development,” he said. He urged mining forum participants to go home and share their new skills and knowledge so that our people can make wise decisions for their natural resources.

 

Papua New Guinea: Prosecute Domestic Violence
Women Often Ignored, Left Without Services, Pushed to Reconcile With Attacker
(Sydney, November 4, 2015) – Women and girls in Papua New Guinea are enduring brutal attacks from their partners, as government officials neglect survivors’ needs for safety, services, and justice, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Critical interventions for survivors, including protection measures and access to shelters, are not readily accessible or not available at all as a result of enforcement failures.
A 59-page report, “Bashed Up: Family Violence in Papua New Guinea,” documents systemic failures in how the government responds to domestic violence – failures which often leave women unprotected and subject to ongoing violence, even when they have gone to great lengths to seek help and justice.
Human Rights Watch research shows that police and prosecutors rarely pursue criminal charges against perpetrators, even in the most serious cases. Police often demand money from victims before they will act or simply ignore cases occurring in rural areas. Police appear reluctant to refer survivors for protection orders, and survivors who seek protection orders frequently encounter delays in the courts. These failures occur even in specialized family violence police units. ….
A network of activists across the country, many of them survivors of family violence themselves, have worked tirelessly both to assist individual victims and press the government for reform. The passage of the 2013 Family Protection Act is largely due to their efforts.
“Bashed Up: Family Violence in Papua New Guinea” is available at:
http://hrw.org/node/282527
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on women’s rights, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/topic/womens-rights
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Papua New Guinea, please visit:
https://www.hrw.org/asia/papua-new-guinea

Selected Testimonies
“I went to the police 17 times. I went every week for the last month. They said this is a domestic problem. They just told my husband not to do it again. I brought my husband to the police station and the police said, ‘You have so many kids – you should go back and not do this again.’ I wanted them to put him in jail for one or two years. So far I have two bones broken,” she said. “It’s very hard for me to find food for the kids and send them to school.”
–Jenella, age 39, mother of seven children, has gone back to her husband
“They arrested him and sent us both to counseling with the sergeant of the [specialized police unit]. We met twice. Nothing happened. My husband continued bashing me. In the presence of the police he agreed to stop, but in the home there was no change. He was hitting me between counseling sessions. I told the police he was still hitting me. They warned him that they would take him to court if he didn’t stop. I asked the police to help me get a protection order. They said they were too busy.”
–Kere, age 18, married for two years, mother of one child

“I decided to go back to him because of the children. He raped me again. He locked me in a room on Thursday and Friday. Then I managed to get away. I want to take him to court and get him kept away. I’m going to find a job and get my own home so I can get my children back. I want to stay away from my husband.”
–Grace, age 44, mother of seven children, staying in a safe house at the time of the interview

“I went to the police three times in 2012 and once in 2013. The first three times, the police just called my husband [he is a police officer himself]. They took a complaint the fourth time, but never arrested him. After that I thought, I can’t get help. I was just helpless. I even went to his supervisor and asked them to take his weapon. At times I just feel, gosh, that’s the end of the world for me.”
–Alice, age 38, mother of four children
Post-mortem as preventative medicine in Papua New Guinea: a case in point

http://www.rrh.org.au/publishedarticles/article_print_2861.pdf

In 2012 the author was working in Ok Tedi Hospital, Tabubil, a remote mining town in the Star Mountains of PNG. The area is notable for a recent rise in sorcery-related violence and murders since 2009. In March 2012 a family from a nearby village requested a post-mortem following a relative’s sudden death. They clearly stated that violence and killings against suspected perpetrators of sorcery had occurred due to a similar sudden death only a year before. As such they were concerned that the nature of their relative’s death would rouse suspicions of sorcery and result in violence. The family hoped that a medical explanation of their relative’s death would prevent rumours of sorcery developing and reduce the risk of violence against suspected perpetrators of sorcery.

Lessons learned: The post-mortem, led by a consultant surgeon and performed in Ok Tedi Hospital, Tabubil, concluded that death was due to complications from an acute myocardial infarction. As requested these results were presented at the funeral to a congregation of approximately 80 people. Following the funeral presentation the author received feedback that fears of sorcery had been alleviated and during a 2-week follow-up period no related violence against suspected perpetrators of sorcery was observed. This case is a unique and intriguing example of biomedical and sociocultural integration in the Highlands of PNG.

 

Health Worker Delivers Babies Using Torch

The National, 2nd November, 2015

A community health worker has told of how he delivered 21 babies during the night by using a torch. Wesley Atama, a community health worker serving in the remote Tsewi aid post in the Kome local level government, Menyamya, Morobe, said it was difficult to run an aid post in a remote area.  Atama said in 2013, he delivered 10 babies in the night using a torch. Last year, he delivered five babies at night. This year, he has so far delivered six babies in the dark. “When mothers come to me, I help them to deliver their babies because this is the only aid post in the area,” Atama said. He said there were cases of mothers dying because of birth complications. “We do not have a generator, solar-power or electricity supply. The aid post is run down and needs to be maintained. We carry our medical supplies and walk for a whole day from where the nearest road is,” Atama said .The Tsewi aid post, built in the 1970s, serves about 3000 people and 600 families. Atama and colleague Joshua Peter, who retired last Friday, serve up to 230 people daily. We cannot be operating like this to deliver using torces, here are people living and they deserve better health services than this run down aid post that we are operating to help them,”

 

Cop charged with rape

The National, Monday November 9th, 2015

A POLICE officer has been charged with the sexual assault on a female detainee at the Mendi police station in Southern Highlands. The policeman allegedly opened the cell and took the married woman out on the night of Oct 18 and raped her on the corridor of the female and male cell blocks. Provincial police commander Superintendent Sibron Papato told The National that the officer, who was on duty from 4pm to12am, promised to buy some food for the woman and took her out.

 

Businessman arrested. Involved in human trafficking

A CHIMBU businessman has been arrested and charged with human trafficking, deprivation of liberty and sexual penetration. The case involved 10 Boera villagers – eight girls and two boys – who were taken against their will to Chimbu Province in July as hired agents for a newly opened inn. They were returned to Port Moresby this week and back to their village, west of the capital. Police in the meantime arrested businessman Willie Gare, who owns Waghi Inn, and charged him with the three offences. Police said the young Motuans were allegedly held against their will and some subjected to sexual abuse and also used as entertainers for the inn patrons. Highlands Western Command Divisional Commander Teddy Tei said yesterday that the girls, between 16 and 20-years-old were allegedly flown to Lae on July 13 and driven to Chimbu where they allegedly entertained customers for the lodge’s opening dinner. According to the police yesterday, Mr Gare had promised to send them back but kept them for another two weeks, and then he never sent them back. After two months one of the girl’s and the boys escaped and reported the matter to the Salvation Army in Kundiawa, which assisted them to report the matter to police.

 

PNG’s 2016 emergency budget: the good, the bad and the unknown

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2015/11/10/PNGs-2016-emergency-budget-the-good-the-bad-and-the-unknown.aspx. 10 November 2015

Last week the PNG government released its budget for 2016, taking extreme measures to move expenditure back in line with dramatically reduced revenue. The good news is this budget has staved off a full-blown cash flow and macroeconomic crisis. The bad news is the government avoided many hard choices, making deep cuts to core services while protecting big-ticket items. See url above for the full article.]

 

Abel: PNG can apply UN set goals

Post Courier, November 13, 2015

PAPUA New Guinea is confident of implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, says National Planning and Monitoring Minister Charles Abel. Mr Abel told the recent celebration of the UN’s 70th anniversary that despite the failure of the Millennium Development Goals, much has been learnt from them. “The 17 SDGs are fundamental to the scrutiny, shape, structure, pillars, and programs of PNG’s poverty reduction efforts and the expenditure priorities implemented through the nation’s Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) for 2016-17 and subsequent MTDPs,” he said. “PNG will ensure resources are available to implement the new SDGs as the current government is now more than ever conscious of its responsibilities.

“The Government of the day has invested significantly in sub national levels where frameworks were put in place to ensure these investments at those levels deliver results and bring about lasting and sustainable impact in PNG.” in the lives of all citizens,” Mr Abel said.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals set to end poverty by next 15 years period include No poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; concern and protect life below water; protect and restore life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals.

 

Bougainville outlines plans as move to referendum accelerates

KEITH JACKSON http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/11/bougainville-outlines-plans-as-move-to-independence-referendum-accelerates.html

BOUGAINVILLE vice-president Patrick Nisira has announced further consultation plans for the autonomous region’s forthcoming referendum on independence.

Mr Nisira, speaking in his capacity as referendum minister, said consultations are continuing with civil war veterans in South, Central and North Bougainville as a precursor to a workshop for parliamentarians next Monday. “The purpose of this workshop will be to formulate a common position on the date of the referendum, the choices available – including the option of independence, a code of conduct for the referendum and the steps Bougainville will needs to take after the referendum,” Mr Nisira said. He stated these were important issues that needed to involve all Bougainville leaders.

“All elected leaders are called upon to provide leadership in each constituency to prepare Bougainville for the referendum, its successful conduct and the peaceful transition to the next stage,” he said.

Mr Nisira also announced that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) will open a Mekamui office within the Bougainville administration to assist with the completion of reconciliation, unification and weapons disposal. The previous self-styled Mekamui government recently agreed to join forces with the ABG.

 

Children at risk, report says

The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

A REPORT from a survey conducted on street children in Port Moresby city shows that over 90 per cent of those interviewed were boys and less than 5 per cent were girls. It further revealed that over 50 per cent of the 101 interviewees’ parents originated from the Southern region, 29 per cent from Central and 25 per cent from Gulf. The parents of the other 46 per cent were from the Highlands provinces of Chimbu, Enga, Southern Highlands and Eastern Highlands, followed by a few from Mamose and New Guinea Islands.

According to the report findings, 16 per cent were categorised as most vulnerable children; their quality of life and ability to fulfil their potential was most affected by extreme deprivation and violations of their lives and often they lived in catastrophic situations and relationships.

The second category were neglected children (17 per cent) who were deprived of their basic needs by adult caretakers that had the means to provide for needs such as health, education and safe living conditions. The third category was children from poor households (43 per cent) whose parents or caregivers cannot afford to give their children their basic needs. The fourth group was those that faced a combination of unique social economic situations (24 per cent). Over 60 per cent of the street children come from 6 Mile, Konedobu and Gabutu/Sabama settlement areas. The children were found mainly selling items on the streets, begging and conducting traffic. Among children identified were those with special needs as well as those with sores and cuts to their bodies and needed medical help.

 

Koim: Real development will bring change

Post Courier, November 18, 2015

ANTI-CORRUPTION Investigation Taskforce Sweep chairman Sam Koim says Papua New Guinea needs real development to change the welfare and well-being of its people. Mr Koim told the people of Dei district in Western Highlands Province that while mothers and children cross rivers, climb mountains and walk through jungles to get medical help, their leaders are enjoying the bright lights of the cities, pretending that everybody is enjoying the same life they have. He said development falls into two categories – “rent seeking projects” and “real development. “Real development and rent seeking projects are two different things. Real development has the overall effect of improving poverty and raising the welfare and well-being of the entire country. But rent seeking projects are selected ‘white elephant’ projects in selected locations to extract economic rents for the benefit of a few individuals and corporations. These grand projects look impressive and that’s all they do – impress,” Mr Koim said. He said the country needs real development and not rent seeking projects built to impress the few individuals who will benefit from it. Mr Koim said rent seeking projects are taking place everywhere in the country where the Government spends millions of kina to impress and not addressing the real issues that are affecting them daily.

 

PNG in no rush to crack down on Asian logging giants

Post Courier, November 17, 2015

Story courtesy of ABC Radio Australia. Papua New Guinea’s government has indicated it will allow intensive logging under the pretext of agricultural development to continue. Logging to clear land for agricultural use has allowed Asian companies to seize vast reserves of customary land under 99-year Special Agricultural Business Leases, or SABLs. Landholders and civil society groups have strongly criticised the leases, and the government has been promising to act on them for more than two years. But Rick Jacobsen from environmental monitoring group Global Witness said export data showed that this type of logging has expanded. “PNG’s log exports have greatly increased over the last few years because of logging under SABLs,” Mr Jacobsen said. “PNG is the largest tropical log exporter in the world, that trade is estimated to be worth $400 million a year and the country has, to date, demonstrated little capacity to oversee its forestry sector.” The SABLs sidestep the lengthy process to obtain a Forestry Management Agreement, which is normally needed to log an area, and instead allow land to be cleared for agricultural development. The companies are then able to sell the timber, which is usually far more lucrative than the proceeds of an agricultural venture.

 

Big Push For Legal Adoption Of Children

The National, 18th November, 2015

Adoption of children in PNG should be made legally through the courts to prevent child abuse, violence against children and resolve inheritance issues. Deputy Chief Magistrate Dessie Magaru told community policing officers in Kokopo when addressing a juvenile victim and witness workshop that many families in PNG continued to adopt children outside legal processes. That exposed children to risk of abuse, violence, trafficking and inheritance issues. Magaru said it was important for families intending to adopt a child to apply through the Family Courts. She said the legal adoption process ensured a child was protected from being victimised.

She said many adopted children in PNG had been affected during marriage break ups of families they were adopted into. However, she said that the law under the new LukautimPikinini Act outlined that adopted children in such situations were now entitled to maintenance from either parent.  “Mothers who desert their husbands and children can be taken to court and sued for maintenance of the children.”

 

Moresby South Sees Increase In TB Cases

Post Courier 18 November, 2015

The number of tuberculosis cases treated by a clinic in Moresby South has increased rapidly in the past three years, a doctor revealed yesterday. Dr Patrick Koliwan said the Kaugere Health Centre treated 267 TB cases in 2013, 347 cases last year and 400 cases so far this year. He said that while TB is a concern in provinces like Western, Gulf and Northern, it should be a cause for alarm in Port Moresby because those who have contracted TB are either not seeking treatment or not completing treatment. Dr Koliwan said that in 2013, Kaugere was seeing about 22 cases a month, in 2014 it was treating 29 cases a month and this year the figure has jumped to about 40 cases a month. “It is more serious than first thought, predicting that it will increase rapidly by 2016 and I’m sure the other clinics will also give their own increasing number of cases. The main problem is that people are not completing their daily TB treatment which lasts for six months. When you stop your treatment, the TB bacteria become resistant to all other medications and they are no longer effective,” he said.

 

Women march against homebrew: we will not suffer silently

20 November 2015 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2015/11/women-march-against-homebrew-we-will-not-suffer-silently.html#more

AFTER a Sunday service in October, the board of management of the local Haisi school in south Bougainville called for a public forum. To the surprise and dismay of parents, the head teacher announced that classes at the mission school were to be suspended. There was uproar and people demanded an explanation, especially since Grade 8 examinations were imminent. The head teacher said the previous night, while the Grade 8 students were at study, a group of drunken men from nearby villages entered school premises. When a Board member asked the drunks to leave, one ran at him with a long grass knife. Fortunately the Board member leapt aside and the blade struck a wall.

Many women then voiced their concern and fear of drunks roaming freely in the community and along the roadsides. They told how alcohol had an evil grip on the majority of able-bodied men in their families.After a lengthy discussion, three major resolutions were agreed by the majority of those present. Firstly, those involved in the Saturday night incident were to be interviewed, reprimanded and fined K50 each by the village chief. Secondly, other men who previously had been on the mission grounds under the influence of alcohol, whether creating a disturbance or otherwise, would be identified by their respective Village Authority Chiefs. They would be charged a certain amount to prevent the most recent culprits alleging that previous offenders have been let off lightly.

Finally, the women at that forum agreed to stage a peaceful march to places where jungle juice is brewed. There were three known locations and the date was set for the next day.

[For the rest of this story, see the url above]

 

Health system broken: Kimisopa

Post Courier, November 24, 2015

THE health system is “broken”, according to a hearing held last week in Port Moresby by special parliamentary committee on public sector reform and service delivery. The committee chairman Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa defined “broken” as any system that does not deliver outcomes that are acceptable. Mr Kimisopa said the health system demonstrably fails to deliver an acceptable standard of health care to the people. He said the committee also noted that there is no constant supply of basic drugs to public hospitals. It gave Port Moresby General Hospital as an example where a total of K5.4 million was spent on supply of drugs and consumables by the end of October but these purchased items were not available in the medical stores. The expenditure represented 20 per cent of the hospital’s operational budget. Mr Kimisopa said there is not a constant supply of required drugs to health centres and aid posts. “The 100 per cent kit sent out by the Health Department do supply items not required and items that are required are not available. “Moreover additional kits sent out on a regular basis when not required,” he said. Mr Kimisopa said this leads to stockpiles of unused surpluses and unwanted materials. …

 

Maternal Health In Papua New Guinea https://www.facebook.com/groups/326819464091972/permalink/892503310856915/

By Georgia Eccles, The Diplomat Magazine

Limited public healthcare and misinformation have given PNG the highest maternal mortality rate in the Asia-Pacific. The maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Australia is 1 in 10 000. In Singapore, it is 1 in 8000. In nearby Papua New Guinea, the lifetime risk of a mother dying during pregnancy remains 1 in 20. With some of the worst maternal mortality statistics in the world on Asia’s doorstep, and with the target year for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approaching, the time has come for the Asia-Pacific region to critically reflect on how to respond to consistently dire statistics with an effective coordinated response that aligns with the SDG agenda. Since 2000, the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) has sought to improve maternal health through a) a reduction by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, of the maternal mortality rate as well as b) universal access to reproductive healthcare by 2015. Globally, improvements were made over this period, with a halving of the global MMR, a reduction in maternal health complications, as well as acknowledgement of the need for adequate maternal health education. Papua New Guinea has, however, defied the trend with one of the most consistently poor maternal and infant mortality rates in the Asia-Pacific. If Papua New Guinea’s MMR had achieved the MDG target reduction stipulated in Goal 5.a., then the MMR would have been 98 deaths per 100,000 live births. Instead, from 2008-2012, it sat at approximately 703 deaths per 100,000 live births. This number indicates a failure to adequately address the underlying local issues. Although it is a complex issue, the primary obstacles to reducing maternal mortality in Papua New Guinea include the inaccessibility of adequate maternal health care facilities and the lack of sociocultural awareness of the difficulties women endure during pregnancy and childbirth. One of the most devastating facts about MMRs is that the majority of deaths can be prevented. ….

 

Govt fails to deliver K40 million for TB

Post Courier, November 23, 2015

TUBERCULOSIS is fast spreading but it has yet to be given the attention it needs by the National Government, an international conference was told yesterday. National Emergency Taskforce on TB chair Dr Paison Dakulala said the emergency plan was for 12 months which had lapsed but the funding support for K40 million was not given even though it was approved by the Government.

Of this amount, K17.7 million for South Fly/Daru in Western Province was to have come from tax from Ok Tedi mine but is now locked due to an ongoing court battle. The conference heard that Daru Island still has high rates of multi-drug resistant TB and drug-resistant TB although a lot of progress has been made to control the spread, with donor funding support, mostly from the Australian Government. Dr Dakulala’s team has decided to extend the emergency plan for the next 12 months and is calling on the Government to release the K40 million to implement its plan.

 

New kidnapping trend in Pom

Post Courier, November 25,2015, 08:00 am

The new kidnapping trend of young children on roadsides or busy markets has raised concern among Port Moresby City residents. Post-Courier found a 12 year old victim who managed to escape the captors. The boy, of Gulf and Manus, was walking down from his home at Konedobu Ranuguri community to his uncle’s market to get his father’s mobile phone when the incident happened. It was around 7 pm on Monday lastweek, when the young fellow was snatched off the footpath, near the Australian High Commission Residential brick wall, by a big man who put his hand over the boy’s mouth and dragged him into a 15 seater white bus.

He nervously told The Post-Courier that he noticed a white man sitting offside with a tattoo on his right arm, while the other four accomplices were Papua New Guineans of Highlands origin, and describe to be big. The vehicle then made its way up the Laws road and exit towards the Touaguba Residential area. It was when he noticed another man with a syringe injector that he bit the hand of the man covering his mouth and jumped out of the moving vehicle.

Another similar incident occurred on Saturday afternoon when a young mother and her toddler were getting out of the taxi after shopping when a blue ten seater stopped, pulled the child into the vehicle and took off. Other incidents of child kidnapping reports have gone viral on social media and the stories seems to be true.

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