Social Concerns Notes – January 2016

Claims of police abuse will be dealt with

Post Courier, December 30, 2015

FIVE hundred police officers have been served with serious disciplinary offence charges between 2007 and 2013. All have been dismissed from the force, police chief of operations Jim Andrews said yesterday, amid growing complaints of police brutality. More than 1700 disciplinary cases were investigated in this same period and 350 of these cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence.

As a result of these investigations and type of evidence collected, 240 members of the constabulary were demoted. Mr Andrews said 700 of these cases were classified as minor disciplinary offences which attracted fines against police personnel who were implicated. “The figures were contained in a report submitted to this office by the constabulary’s internal affairs directorate.” All allegations of police abuses, including those reported and sensationalised through social media, have and will be thoroughly investigated and officers implicated will be dealt with, revealed the police chief of operations.

 

Turi: 39 city cops suspended

The National, Monday January 4th, 2016

THIRTY-nine police officers facing 89 charges have been suspended in the past three months, National Capital District Police Metropolitan Superintendent Benjamin Turi says.  “We have a problem with police brutality in the force. All police brutality cases are taken care of,” he said.

“So far, 39 police officers are suspended and face 89 charges altogether. Those two who were arrested and charged last Thursday (for sex-related charges) make it 41. So results are coming out.

“One will be served his dismissal in the first week of this month and the other will be served afterwards. “The disciplinary charges are the same as a court fine.  “We have to go through each thoroughly, checking the law so that when they are dismissed and charged, they shouldn’t come back.”

 

‘Corruption is at all levels’

The National, Monday January 4th, 2016

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion warned that corruption was deep-rooted in all levels of Papua New Guinea society and would undermine efforts of future generations. In his New Year’s message, Dion said the biggest challenge facing the country was corruption. “Despite the commendable efforts by our law enforcement agencies, corruption is a cross-cutting issue that requires a consolidated effort from all sectors of the community, including ordinary citizens who are the ultimate beneficiaries of goods and services,” he said. “It is even more concerning that today, corruption is much more evident and systematic than ever before. “This trend is being propagated by greed through corrupt means and envy for greater power and authority. “Today institutions of governance are allegedly being used by outside forces to collude with custodians of these institutions who are entrusted as public servants to legitimise corruption through decisions of convenience riddled with bias and conflict of interests.”

 

Commonwealth report on 2012 election

http://www.pngblogs.com/2015/12/commonwealth-report-on-2012-election.html

As Papua New Guinea heads into the 2017 elections, it is timely to read the report by the Commonwealth Observer Group on the 2012 national elections (url above).  It gives citizens an idea of what to expect in 18 months. The Group that visited PNG at the time slammed the conduct of the 2012 national elections, saying “serious concerns need to be addressed for the future.”

The Group chairman, Hon Nipake Edward Natapei, MP, of Vanuatu, reported that “significant challenges remain to achieve the efficient and effective management of elections to ensure maximum franchise for citizens, appropriate and consistent electoral practices for the exercise of that franchise, and a strong culture of democracy throughout the country.”

For report, see, http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/news-items/documents/COGPNG2012Final.pdf

 

Policewoman arrested . . . for forcing a young woman to swallow condoms

Post Courier, January 11, 2016

A POLICEWOMAN is behind bars for her part in a video showing police officers forcing a young woman to swallow condoms. Constable Jacklyn Tanda has been charged with deprivation of liberty and abuse of office after the victim, Evangeline Aitsi, 21, from Kairuku, Central Province, identified her on Saturday. Police Commissioner Gari Baki said two male officers were also identified but one escaped to Nipa, Southern Highlands, but he will be brought to Port Moresby to face charges. Mr Baki said at a news conference yesterday that the police investigators should be commended for their efforts in arresting Tanda. He added that this will be the “Year of Discipline for the Police Force.”

On December 4, Tanda and two policemen were at the Boroko Police Station, between 6.30am and 9am when Evangeline John Aitsi was brought in for questioning after being found allegedly in possession of marijuana. Ms Aitsi was taken to the interview room and told to empty her string bag and wallet which revealed seven male condoms. One of the policeman forced Ms Aitsi to swallow two condoms. She was also ordered to chew the third condom but she refused. She was asked as to how she performed sexual acts and told to demonstrate in their presence. Tanda allegedly took a video footage of the victim and laughed at her while she was teased and threatened by the other two.

Ms Aitsi was not arrested and charged for the alleged offence of being in possession of marijuana.

 

Appoint Ombudsman Commissioner boss, Polye urges

Post Courier, December 31,2015, 01:03 am

DELAYING the appointment of the Chief Ombudsman for almost a year is worrying, the Opposition Leader said yesterday. Don Polye is calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is the ex officio chairman of the appointment committee, to convene a meeting immediately in January to appoint the Chief Ombudsman. “If the Chief Ombudsman’s position has been vacant for some months again, the systems of governance, transparency and accountability will continue to be at stake,” he said in a statement. He said the Chief Ombudsman’s position has been vacant since January 6, 2015.

The appointment committee comprises Prime Minister O’Neill, Opposition Leader Polye, Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, parliamentary appointments committee chairman Philip Undialu and Public Service Commission chairman Philip Kereme.

 

From economic boom to crisis management in PNG

2 January 2016 http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/01/02/from-economic-boom-to-crisis-management-in-png/ by Author: Paul Flanagan, ANU

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a land of contrasts. 2015 started with the prospect of PNG having the highest GDP growth rate in the world at over 21 per cent. It finished in crisis management and cash shortages. PNG proudly celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence, hosted a successful yet expensive Pacific Games and its prime minister strode the world and regional stage. But the 2016 Budget, rushed through Parliament in November given a looming vote of no-confidence, introduced even more extensive expenditure cuts than Greece has endured. Extensive currency controls are hurting businesses and undermining growth. Local businesses are facing major drops in sales and most believe the outlook will not improve in 2016. Newspaper stories report shortages of government cash. Funding is not being paid to urgent medical programs, there are uncertainties as to whether public servants will be paid, teacher entitlements are being deferred and superannuation contributions are not being deposited. A sovereign bond was the planned solution to these cash flow problems but it has been put on hold until the middle of 2016, reportedly due to a lack of market interest. The new PNG LNG project is functioning better than planned and LNG export volumes are booming. This should have been an opportunity for PNG to improve its international credit rating. However both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have moved PNG onto a negative watch list. So what has gone so wrong?

See the report in the url above.

 

Poor financial management in PNG: can it be turned around?

By David Fellows and John Leonardo on January 12, 2016

Poor financial management in PNG: can it be turned around?

The latest Papua New Guinea (PNG) Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment completed in August last year has been published. Scores for the various public financial management (PFM) performance indicators (PIs) were determined using both a new, so-called “testing” methodology and the existing 2011 methodology. Details of the scores are available in this spreadsheet [xls]

Papua New Guinea’s overall score ranks 21 out of the 24 countries. (Details are available here [xls].) Only Congo Republic, Antigua and Barbuda and Guinea-Bissau recorded lower overall scores than Papua New Guinea. PNG is also one of the poorest countries rated, but its overall performance is weaker than some even poorer, developing countries.

 

Aggregate PEFA scores for 24 countries

What is also disturbing is the suggestion that financial management in PNG has worsened. Two earlier PEFA exercises have been carried out for PNG, in 2005 and 2009. While these have not been released, we know from the ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan 2015-2017 that in 2009 32 per cent of PIs scored an A or a B. The fall from 32 per cent to 18 per cent suggests a major deterioration in public financial management in PNG.

 

Govt’s climate policy lauded

The National, Monday January 4th, 2016

THE Climate Compatible Development Policy developed by the Office of Climate Change and Development is very powerful for the country, according to Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister John Pundari. Pundari said it was time the country developed climate-smart policies to capture the impacts of climate change in development plans to ensure that infrastructures built were climate-resilient. “Which means, you have a policy that will allow you to build bridges and infrastructures that are tough enough to withstand floods and extreme weather conditions,” he said.

“You have a policy in agriculture that will ensure and encourage investments in crop species that will withstand drought conditions. “Such policy encourages the cultivation food crops that will give you greater yields in extreme weather conditions, thus improving and increasing food security in the country.”

 

PNG contributing to climate change

Post Courier, January 15, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea is using two harmful gases that destroys the Ozone layer and contributes to climate change. The ozone layer sets high in the atmosphere and acts as a shield that protects living things including humans from deadly radiation produced by the sun. He said that the two ODS used here are hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and they are used mainly in Refrigerators and Air conditioners. “HCFCs are not natural gas but man-made chemicals made up of Hydrogen, Carbon, Chlorine and Florine, whereas CFCs are made from carbon, florine and chlorine. “These dangerous gases can cause destruction to the Ozone layers, mainly the stratospheric ozone, and bring disaster to all living things on earth,” he said.

“The general public also need to be aware that ultimately they can help control the trade in ODS when purchasing refrigerators and air conditioners. “Users of refrigerators and air conditioners must always check labels at the back of the equipment and find out what gas it uses,” he said.

Joku said the labels would show what refrigerant those items use such as; R22 (an ODS), R12 (a prohibited refrigerant ODS), R134 (a non-ODS but greenhouse gas), R410 (a non-ODS Greenhouse gas). R600 and R290 hydrocarbon refrigerants are so called natural and environmentally friendly refrigerants that do not destroy the ozone layer. For an article on this see, http://hychill.com.au/content/3-info/cpohcr.pdf.

 

Frost-resistant kaukau unveiled

The National, Tuesday January 5th, 2016

SOUTHERN Highlands people in high altitude areas whose food gardens have been affected by frost would soon have a mutated sweet potato variety that can withstand frost. National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) revealed this in Ialibu during a workshop before New Year and named the cold tolerant mutated sweet potato as korowest. It was planted in Ialibu one month before the prolonged drought last year and it grew well.  This variety takes five months to mature.

The korowest sweet potato vines are grown at the NARI resource centre at Ialibu and have been distributed to local farmers. NARI agronomist Enopa Linday said people from Ialibu in Ialibu-Pangia district and Mogol in Mendi-Munihu district were hard hit by the prolonged drought last year and many were facing food shortage after their gardens were affected by frost. “The mutated sweet potato korowest would greatly help those affected in future climate disasters that occurring unexpectedly because of El Nino,” he said.

 

Subsistence food supply may continue

The National, Friday January 8th, 2016

SUBSISTENCE food supplies in drought-impacted areas are likely to be scarce for periods ranging from several months to one year despite the recent rain, according to an Australian National University report released yesterday. The report followed comprehensive assessment of the drought in 2015 and early 2016. “Useful rain has fallen in many parts of PNG in November and December 2015 and early January 2016,” the report said. “This has eased the water supply situation in most but not all locations. “Despite this rain, subsistence food supplies are likely to be scarce for periods ranging from several months to one year.” The report said this was because little rain had fallen in some locations, where frost destroyed all sweet potato crops at very high altitude locations, it would take up to a year before new plantings would bear.

 

Some points from the report by R.M. (Mike) Bourke, Bryant Allen and Michael Lowe

See: http://devpolicy.org/the-ongoing-impact-of-the-el-nino-drought-and-frosts-in-papua-new-guinea-20160115/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=187ecbad1f-Devpolicy_News__Jan_15_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-187ecbad1f-227683090

 

It is important to set priorities on the delivery of food aid. This is because of the very high cost of buying food and especially of delivering food and other aid to the remote communities who are suffering the most. A basic food aid ration is 400 grams of rice and 60 grams of tinned fish per person per day. This is less than the full ration recommended by UNICEF in PNG in 2015 and provides about 80% of the food energy intake for an active adult rural Papua New Guinean.The weight of such a ration is 4.6 tonnes per 10,000 people per day. It would require 3.5 loads in a Twin Otter aircraft to transport this volume per day for these 10,000 people. The cost of purchasing sufficient rice and tinned fish to feed this basic diet to 10,000 people for a 120 day period is K2.1 million, based on wholesale prices in main ports. However, the cost of transporting food to the remote locations increases these figures considerably, often more than doubling the cost. The current cost of transporting food in a chartered Twin Otter aircraft is K15,000 to K25,000 per tonne, depending on the distance of the trip. If, for example, it were determined that the highest priorities for food aid in January 2016 were in the following Rural LLG areas: Nomad and Morehead in Western Province; Kotidanga and Kaintiba in Gulf Province; Kandep and Wage in Enga Province and Makamaka in Milne Bay Province, the estimated population in these areas is 154,700. Hence the costs of purchasing a basic ration of rice and tinned fish to feed this population for a 120 day period would be about K33 million. The cost of transporting the food to these remote locations would increase this very considerably given the dependence on air transport in many places.

 

Another K2m For Drought Aid

The National, 11th January, 2016

Kandep district in Enga is spending another K2 million on relief supplies as more than 73,000 people there are still facing a food shortage. Effects of the drought and frost experienced last year are not over yet and food gardens may take another eight months before the people’s lives can return to normal.. “Frost and drought are over and we receive rain but it continues to come with hailstorms and destroys the leaves and vines of newly planted crops,” he said. Kunu said that worsened the situation in the district which resulted in many domestic animals dying of hunger. Mr Kunu said that so far they have brought in 12,600 bags of 20kg rice bags and stored them at four distribution centers at Kandep station, Yapum Catholic church, Mariant Catholic church and Lagalap Primary School. He said that as soon as another 8400 rice bags together with some containers of cooking oil and noodles were transported up from Mt Hagen any time this week, they would start distributing the food. He said the provincial disaster office assisted with 12,600 bags of 10kg bags of rice last December. He added that other than that they didn’t receive any assistance from outside.

 

See also: Politicising drought relief in Papua New Guinea

Colin Wiltshire & Thiago Cintra Oppermann

Dev Policy Blog http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/01/politicising-drought-relief-in-papua-new-guinea.html

 

Applied Forensic Accounting – Experiences from the PNG Financial Intelligence Unit.

https://pngexposed.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/applied-forensic-accounting-experiences-from-png-financial-intelligence-unit.pdf

The disparity between the cost of living and salaries, coupled with family or wantok obligations, appears to place many public servants in a situation where the temptation to engage in corrupt behavior to supplement income is likely to far outweigh any individual considerations of integrity.

The Fraud Triangle suggests there are three factors likely to be present in every situation of fraud:

 Motive (or pressure) – the need for committing fraud (need for money, etc.);

 Rationalisation – the mindset of the fraudster that justifies them to commit fraud; and

 Opportunity – the situation that enables fraud to occur (often when internal controls are weak or non-existent). Wolfe and Hermanson (2004) add to the triangle a fourth element, that being Capability – the necessary traits and abilities to commit the fraud. An examination of the circumstances of many Papua New Guinean public servants shows that many of them are in situations where at least the first three factors are present – low relative wages and family pressures providing the motive for fraud. A rationalisation that “everyone else is doing it‟ or “if I don’t take it someone else will”, and lax governance, poor oversight and a less than diligent banking sector providing ample opportunity.

 

Concerns raised over sexual perpetrators

Post Courier, January 07, 2016

INCREASING concerns have been raised over lack of prosecution for sexually related crimes.

Morobe family sexual violence action committee member Nelly McLay raised concerns saying there have been many instances where sexual offenders have not been dealt with accordingly. Australian Federal Police officer Robert Holst said one of the main reasons is that most cases of such nature heavily depend on evidence provided by victims. “Courts often rely on the victim’s statements, medical reports and eye witness accounts to deal with the perpetrator. “When one’s report is not properly documented and eyewitnesses provide evidences that are not substantial or they refuse to turn up in court these results in the perpetrator going free,” Mr Holst said. Public Prosecutor’s victims liaison officer Leonie Miroi also added that another reason for lack of prosecution is the system of compensation paid by the perpetrator to the victims family. “It would be considered unfair on the victim’s part for his or her family to receive compensation payments from the accused. “The innocence and dignity of a victim is often taken away when one encounters sexual abuse and this is something that families need to understand,” Ms Miroi said. She said that the families of victims of sexual abuse must reject compensation because it is most inappropriate considering the seriousness of the offence. “When compensation takes place the perpetrator walks free and there is a likely chance of him or her committing the crime again,” Ms Miroi said.

 

Our great negativity: The belief that we cannot do it ourselves

7 January 2016 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/01/our-great-negativity-the-belief-that-we-cannot-do-it-ourselves.html#more Martyn Namrong

IF we are truly honest to ourselves, we will admit that growing up and living in Papua New Guinea is a negative experience. As children, we were told that there was once a perfect world that Adam and Eve screwed up sending us all to eternal damnation. We were told to repent, which we did and continue to do, and then forever ask forgiveness because we are horrible sinners. Then we grew up a bit and went to school and our teachers scolded us and called us “dumb-dumbs”. We felt dumb anyway as we watched from a distance as our peers collected end of year prizes; the rest of us being told that we’d go back to our villages and plant kaukau that the smart kids would buy from us.

Then we grew up and realised it was all a lie.

Now we’re miserable because the engineer and the economist struggle to find accommodation at Morata settlement whilst the buai seller who didn’t go to school owns a trade store and a PMV bus.

In addition, if our colleagues at work reckon we’re smart, they plot against us to stop us becoming more successful. We also find that hard work isn’t rewarded unless we have connections.

I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and everyone keeps telling me that they are the “back page” of PNG, the “last people”. But many of these “back page” communities have better road and water links than the truly remote people of Nomad or Wawoi Falls. Many are only a few hours away from a main centre compared to the number of days it takes for me to travel from Daru to my village. Why do they therefore perceive themselves as being backward?

Perhaps what I am describing is what is referred to by some as “structural violence.” Structural violence refers to types of economic, political, legal, religious and cultural arrangements that stop individuals, groups and societies from reaching their full potential. (For the rest of this interesting article by Martyn Namorong, see the url above.]

 

Crisis centre caters for trafficking cases

Post Courier, January 13, 2016

TRADING in women and children is real and one place that sees these abuses is a crisis centre for women and children at Haus Ruth, run by Port Moresby City Mission. The mission’s chief executive officer Pastor Ron Brown revealed yesterday when speaking of the services that Haus Ruth provides.

He said they not only accommodate women and children suffering from violence, but also offer a comprehensive package which includes counselling, medical treatment and legal help. He said Port Moresby City Mission started 23-years-ago taking care of young homeless men and later opened Haus Ruth. It started a farm at Mirigeda where troubled young men, including those who have been in and out of prison, undergo training to become useful members of society. Pr Brown said in future, the City Mission will be focusing more on women and children suffering from violence as statistics show that the problem is not going down. The Christian non-governmental organisation’s programs in Port Moresby have also been expanded to Lae and will be in Madang this year. “By the end of this year, we will be in Madang. We are focusing on women and children, young women who are victims of violence,’’ he said. “There is a high rate of trafficking of women and children. Statistics show that the problem is not going down. Women and even children are being sold into life of prostitution. We are passionate that more needs to be done.

 

TB spreading at ‘phenomenal rate’ while govt holds back funds

15 January 2016 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/01/tb-spreading-at-phenomenal-rate-while-govt-holds-back-funds.html

A COMMUNICABLE disease expert says a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis on the Papua New Guinea island of Daru is spreading at a phenomenal rate. Western Province are battling to keep down the numbers of tuberculosis patients on Daru. Professor Brendan Crabb, from Australia’s Burnet Institute, says more than 160 of the 15,000 people on the island have been infected – a scale that hasn’t been seen before in PNG. Prof Crabb says environmental factors including poverty, a sub-optimal health system and poor housing and nutrition have contributed to its spread, but researchers are worried a unique superbug may have developed. “Traditionally drug-resistant strains of TB are considered to be less fit than the non-drug resistant forms – they’re poor growers and poor spreaders,” Prof Crabb said.

“The concern here is that may not be the case and we need to do some work to find out if there is indeed a superbug – a drug-resistant organism that’s spreading very well.”

Meanwhile, former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta says money promised for the fight against tuberculosis must be made available. He says the national government and the Fly River provincial governments six months ago promised US$13 million dollars to fight TB in Western, Gulf and Central provinces but are yet to pay. He saids the TB problem in Daru is unprecedented and that the government should put the people first, not promote itself through showpiece events, such as the Pacific Games and APEC, and infrastructure projects like Paga Hill.

 

Witchcraft blamed for Cervical Cancer

Post Courier, January 19, 2016

PAPUA New Guineans in rural communities are blaming symptoms of cervical cancer on black magic and witchcraft. “As a result, these women don’t seek treatment at an early stage but rather leave it, then are rushed to the hospital only to be told that they have stage three or four cancer of the cervix. It is even more painful when told that it is not curable,” Ms Ruddaka said. That was the conclusion of a team from the Papua New Guinea Cancer Relief Society, which recently returned from a week-long awareness campaign targeting 13 villages and more than 1600 people in remote Morobe Patrol Post area in the Huon Gulf district. Their findings confirm the need for cancer awareness in rural communities in PNG, where most people are illiterate and do not have access to information on the dangers of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The Health Department’s nationwide awareness is from January 11 to 30 aimed at eliminating cervical cancer through HPV vaccination and screening.

 

Churches comment on sorcery existence

Post Courier, January 19, 2016

THERE have been shocking deaths, shocking responses, bewilderment, anger, revenge and fear in most traditional societies in Papua New Guinea. All this is because certain types of deaths are directly attributed to the dread powers or perceived control and influence of sorcery. Not one society is immune to the belief in sorcery and as much as it is intensely disliked, it still remains and plays a large part in trying to explain the supernatural and tragically blamed as the cause of death from normal diseases. Suspected sorcerers have been killed, maimed, publicly displayed naked, publicly burnt and all kinds of atrocities committed against them.

Dr Andrew Moutu, anthropologist and CEO of the National Museum, in a paper related to the Law reform on Custom and Underlying law said that sorcery is generally held as part of PNG’s culture, lying in religious belief systems. “It is practised or observed, revered or feared, despised or denied in various versions of customary practices,” Moutu said. Moutu said belief that its existence is not to advocate superstition, nor to descend into the slopes of irrationality, however, it summons metaphysical division of natural and supernatural, scientific and superstition and usually with a persistent search for the truth. “The quest for truth must, therefore, instruct our methods of criminalising sorcery and related incidents of violence and death stem from the belief of sorcery,” he said. Papua New Guinea United Church Bishop, Rev Vaburi Dabada even though admits the existence of sorcery in society, said that there is a greater power that we can rely on. “There is no source of power as great as the power from God,” Rev Vaburi said. He also said that as the gospel spreads and is understood and practised more and more in our day to day lives, we can overcome these other beliefs with our faith in God. “One reason why the world is in a mess is because we tend to worship and fear creation instead of worshipping and fearing the Creator,” Rev Vaburi said. The United Church Bishop explained that while the main objective of sorcery previously was to give healing and protection to an enclosed society, intermarriages had disintegrated such societies, which caused witchdoctors to lose their value and status in the society, thus changing their objective to harming people. Catholic Bishop Conference’s Fr Victor Roach said that the Church does not deny that the culture in Papua New Guinea believe in sorcery, however, it stands that scientific, medical and logical reasons in our age are able to explain such deaths.

 

Enga Police Commander Kakas adamant to find evidence in sorcery-related killings

Post Courier, January 19, 2016

THEY are vulnerable, defenceless, lonely, poor and helpless widows. Yet they are accused of wielding immense powers to kill, maim or make a person sick using sorcery. The plight of these women who are accused of practising sorcery is surreal in all contexts because they either survive the brutal ordeals they go through, or die as a result of the treatment they received under some of the most inhuman tortures known. Some are lucky and live when authorities come to their rescue or when churches intervene. Some later die as a result of the seriousness of their injuries.

Enga provincial police commander Acting Supt George Kakas is a non-believer in “sanguma” but since sorcery-related issues have become a trend in Enga, he has now set up an office to deal with all issues relating to it. One man assigned with the mammoth task of collecting and identifying suspects in sorcery cases is William Smith Kamefa. Kamefa is now going through each village trying to identify the men accused of torturing a woman with knives in her genital area, Kakas said. “In 2015, I dealt with issues where I brought in the accused and their accusers and questioned them on the case.

“In the end the accusers were unable to come up with any evidence and the ladies were saved,” Kakas said. Kakas described moments where he found himself rallying for the helpless accused. “One time a community accused a woman and her daughter of killing someone through sorcery.

The woman was strung up after being assaulted and the community had started a fire to burn her alive.

I received a text from a good Samaritan, who was at the scene and I arrived there in time and cut the woman loose. I turned to the crowd and asked them if they had evidence to produce that she had cut out the heart of the deceased. They couldn’t come up with the evidence and the lady is now residing in her in-law’s village. … Kakas said that it was time churches through rallies or services denounced sorcery and tell all church goers that those who believe in sorcery are only bringing in the devil.

“It is time churches played a big role in ensuring that sorcery be done away with in the province.”

 

PNG police examine torture of women accused of killing man with witchcraft

The circumstances around Max’s ‘death’ show the struggle Papua New Guinea authorities face against superstition-driven violence

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/21/png-police-examine-torture-of-women-accused-of-invisibly-killing-man

 

Homeless children grow in numbers

Post Courier, January 20, 2016

As the traditional social network breaks down, the number of children fending for themselves on the streets of Port Moresby and other urban centers is expected to grow. Post Courier asked Director for Child Welfare Simon Yanis for his response to this statement, especially in relation to the children’s right to education and health services as enshrined  in the  United Nations  Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which has been signed and ratified by the PNG Government. The CRC has also been integrated into PNG’s laws, including the Lukautim Pikinini Act. In response, Mr Yanis agreed that these children become the responsibility of the state when there is no one to care for them and also stated that  LPA caters for the service providers which means that the Government is obligated to provide funds to support organisations providing for these children, however, he said, funding has always been a problem. He also said the Government has a plan which is to coordinate what different organisations are doing. In the meantime, if there is any help that is forthcoming, it is from NGOs like Life PNG Care and WeCARe which is providing not just for children in street situation but other needy children such as the disabled and also vulnerable women, including paying school fees for their children.

 

The Mining Boom In Papua New Guinea Goes Boom

Source: EconomyWatch.com http://www.economywatch.com/features/The-Mining-Boom-in-Papua-New-Guinea-goes-Boom0118.html

How PNG’s money politics plays out in the context of restricted funds and persistent legal challenges will help shape domestic politics in 2016. It could well be a turbulent year.

PNG politics after the boom is republished with permission from East Asia Forum ….

 

PNG ranked among highly-corrupt

The National, Thursday January 28th, 2016

THE country has been categorised as one of the world’s highly-corrupt countries, according to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) figures, which ranked the country 139 out of 168 countries assessed last year. Transparency International board chairman Lawrence Stephens made that known in Port Moresby, saying that the CPI was based on a combination of data collected by 12 reputable organisations globally.  According to Stephens, the information on PNG was sourced from five surveys: Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index 2016, Political Risk Services International Country Guide 2015, World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2013, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Rating 2015 and Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2014.

“Depressing as the results of 2015 Corruption Perception Index are, they come with a challenge for ordinary citizens and people in positions of authority,” Stephens said.  New Zealand was ranked the least corrupt nation in the Asia Pacific region, chalking a CPI score of 88.

 

Rape cases in Hagen top list

The National, Friday January 29th, 2016

ALMOST half of the 449 cases recorded at the Well Women Clinic at the Mt Hagen referral hospital last year were rape cases. This was followed by 189 cases of physical assault, 31 sexual assault, three cases of denial of resources, and three of psychological abuse.  Sr Edith Namda from the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority revealed these figures yesterday in a power point presentation during the graduation of 75 police officers who completed a two-week training on gender-based violence and psycho-social support. Namba said that according to the 2015 statistics from the Well Women Clinic, the most vulnerable age groups of rape victims belonged to the 15-18-year-old bracket.

 

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Papua New Guinea

Events of 2014 https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/papua-new-guinea

Despite Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) current extractives-led economic boom, an estimated 40 percent of the country lives in poverty. Pressing human rights issues include gender inequality, violence, corruption, and excessive use of force by police. Rates of family and sexual violence are among the highest in the world and perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.

In 2014, in a blow to rule of law and accountability, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill sacked key officials and disbanded the country’s main anti-corruption body.

Torture and Other Police Abuse

Physical and sexual abuse of detainees—including children—by police and paramilitary police units continues to be widespread. In March, a videotape surfaced of police officers surrounding and unleashing three dogs on a defenseless man. Police officials later condemned the abuse and said the incident was being investigated….

Violence and Discrimination against Women and Girls

PNG is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, with an estimated 70 percent of women experiencing rape or assault in their lifetime. While such acts have long been criminalized and domestic violence was specifically proscribed under the 2013 Family Protection Act, few perpetrators are brought to justice. Reports of violent mobs attacking individuals accused of “sorcery,” the victims mostly women and girls, continue to be reported. The instigators of such attacks rarely face justice, with few witnesses coming forward. In April, six people, including two children, were hacked to death when 500 men went on a sorcery hunt in Madang Province. Police arrested at least 180 suspects but police say they lack funds to complete investigations….

Disability Rights

People with disabilities in PNG are often unable to participate in community life, go to school, or work because of stigma and other barriers associated with disability. In many cases, people with disabilities are not able or allowed to leave their homes. Access to mental health care is limited, and traditional healers are the only option for many people with psychosocial disabilities.

Death Penalty

Following PNG’s 2013 expansion of the scope of crimes eligible for the death penalty and signaling its intention to resume executions, 14 prisoners were on death row at time of writing, but no executions had taken place. In March, UN expert Heyns urged PNG not to use the death penalty and pursue instead other measures including more effective policing of violent crimes.

Corruption   

In April, PNG’s Taskforce Sweep, a government anti-corruption initiative, successfully prosecuted prominent politician Paul Tiensten for misappropriating US$3.6 million in public funds. Tiensten was sentenced to nine years in jail. In June, following investigations by Taskforce Sweep, the PNG police fraud squad filed a warrant for the arrest of Prime Minister O’Neill for his alleged role in approving fraudulent payments from the PNG Finance Department to a Port Moresby law firm. O’Neill then sacked the attorney general and deputy police commissioner and ordered the disbandment of the taskforce.

Extractive industries         

Extractive industries are an important engine of PNG’s economic growth, but continue to give rise to serious human rights problems and environmental harm. Controversy raged around the alleged environmental impacts of the long-troubled Ok Tedi mine in 2014, and violent clashes erupted around the controversial Ramu Nickel project….

Key International actors   

Australia provided an additional $556.7 million this financial year to support the Manus Island detention center. Since 2013, Australia has transferred asylum seekers arriving irregularly by boat in Australian waters to PNG for refugee status determination. Those recognized as refugees are to be resettled in PNG or in a third country other than Australia. At time of writing, 1,084 men were detained on Manus Island and PNG immigration officials had completed 104 interim refugee determinations, 56 of which were positive. At this writing, the 10 refugees were to be released on temporary visas issued initially for a period of 12 months. In March, UN expert Heyns expressed regret that representatives of the private security firm G4S, which runs the detention center, were not available to meet him, and that he was refused access to the center and was unable to meet with asylum seekers.

At time of writing the report, the Australian government had deployed 73 Australian federal police officers to act as unarmed advisers to the Royal PNG Constabulary in Port Moresby and Lae to help combat high levels of violence in PNG.

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