Social Concerns Notes – June 2016

Papua New Guinea: students shot, country damaged

11 June 2016  http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/06/11/papua-new-guinea-students-shot-country-damaged/ Author: Bill Standish, Canberra

On Wednesday 8 June, Papua New Guinea police fired on a peaceful student demonstration at the University of PNG (UPNG); four students received bullet wounds, 20 were injured and hundreds tear-gassed. Thankfully there were no fatalities. PNG has again made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern, appealing for calm and respect for peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and a commitment to the rule of law.

How did this happen?

As I flagged in January, public concern at political corruption has escalated under the government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. He has refused to be interviewed by the police over US$22 million payments to lawyer Paul Paraka, thus provoking a court-issued arrest warrant. And he is fighting an investigation over US$1.2 billion worth of loans borrowed without parliamentary approval. The state is in fiscal trouble. Foreign exchange reserves are short as income from liquefied natural gas has effectively been garnisheed to repay the loans. Budget cuts are severe. Health and education, for example, have been hit by cuts of around 35 per cent. UPNG students have been boycotting classes for five weeks due to concerns about government corruption and PNG’s precarious economic position as well as a desire to preserve democracy and the rule of law. They have petitioned O’Neill demanding he step down (or at least step aside) while the charges are dealt with according to the law. The prime minister, who dominates the parliament, has stated that there is no case against him. But, as former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet points out, that is for the courts to decide. The students and the prime minister appear to have angrily painted themselves into opposing corners. No third party mediator has emerged yet.

[See the url above for the full article]

 

Investigation must be transparent: UN
Post Courier, June 15, 2016

THE United Nations has urged the importance of transparent and thorough investigations into the events of last Wednesday in which police shot at protesters, mainly University of Papua New Guinea students, at the Waigani campus entrance. The UN said in a statement on Monday that it was deeply concerned about the unrest in PNG, and particularly the events of Wednesday when police opened fire at the protestors who were preparing to march to Parliament in Port Moresby, injuring a number of students, some of whom remain hospitalised. It said that it was aware that Police Commissioner Gari Baki had announced an inquiry into the incident. “It is important that the police inquiry examines the use of force by law enforcement officers, including the use of live ammunition, and takes in consideration relevant international human rights laws and standards as well as recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteurs who recently visited PNG. We stress the importance of these inquiries being conducted in an independent, transparent and thorough manner resulting in a just process,” the UN said.

 

Behind the shooting of Papua New Guinea student protesters

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/06/14/pngs-j14.html  By Peter Symonds 14 June 2016

Heavily-armed police in the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby last Wednesday opened fire on hundreds of protesting university students with live ammunition, injuring nearly 40, several seriously. Initial reports of four dead proved incorrect. The police crackdown followed weeks of student protests, including widespread class boycotts, at the University of Papua New Guinea that were joined by students in other parts of the country….. [See url above for full article].

Frictions have developed between O’Neill and Canberra over a series of issues, including his decision to direct some Australian advisers to leave last December. Nevertheless, his government has retained Canberra’s backing throughout the current crisis. In response to last week’s shootings, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called for “calm.” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rang O’Neill to offer assistance, but was politely declined. It is not difficult to imagine a completely different scenario if O’Neill no longer enjoyed Canberra’s support. Not only would the corruption allegations be used to paint a picture of a dysfunctional government, but the shooting of unarmed student protesters would be seized upon to denounce O’Neill in the blackest of terms, paving the way for his removal.

The latest crisis in PNG is a harbinger of the worsening social and economic crisis and sharpening geo-political tensions wracking countries throughout the region, particularly the small, vulnerable island states of the South West Pacific. The police shootings are a warning of the draconian measures that will be used by the local ruling elites to suppress any resistance to their agenda

 

DWU students condemn 8th June shooting

Post Courier, June 28, 2016

Students at Divine Word University’s Madang campus have strongly condemned the alleged police shooting of unarmed students at the University of Papua New Guinea on the 8th earlier this month.

The DWU Student Representative Council met with the leaders of provincial associations on campus recently and all voiced concern about the shooting and strongly condemned the action.

The student body also raised funds on campus and had sent it to the UPNG students to assist those injured with their medical expenses last Friday. The SRC President Jackson Kane Mulupe and his vice president Issac Ramson said: “We condemn the alleged acts of the police against unarmed students.

“We want the law to deal with individual policeman allegedly responsible. Police are not there to serve the interest of individuals or politicians but for this country and therefore, we call on the Ombudsman Commission as the constitutional watchdog to fully investigate. The action of the law enforcement officers was disgraceful and disrespectful to us as students,” Mr Mulupe and Mr Ramson said.

Mamose students’ representative Jason Imbong said we see the act of police as deprivation of the democratic human rights and freedom of speech and movement of the people.

“We want an independent Commission of Inquiry to be carried out especially by individuals outside of the government system to find out who authorized the shooting,” he said. He adds, we recommend that police must be trained and resourced with proper crowd control ways and equipment such as water cannons and batons rather than tear gas and live ammunition.

Issac Sukua representing New Guinea Islands and Southern region students said that under the Human Rights Act 1998, human have rights to live, respect, have freedom of speech and the police must act in a harmonious way. “We feel that the students’ rights were deprived at that time. Thus, they had the intent to kill by using weapons, so we condemn these actions,” Mr Sukua said. He added that they feel that this act was not a mistake but was ordered by somebody and must be investigated. The SRC believe that under the Police Act of 1998 Section 23 Division 3, where there is reason to believe that a member of the force committed a disciplinary offence other than an offence that is or intended to be dealt with as a minor offence shall be dealt with as a serious offence.The DWU SRC therefore have condemned the acts of the police that they have and are urging if the higher authority cannot maintain the rule of law, then it becomes meaningless to everybody else in the lower levels of society. Meanwhile, the SRC and students have carried out fundraising on campus and sent the money collected to the UPNG students injured and hospitalized to assist them with their medical expenses. “To show our solidarity and care for our fellow students who were injured we have made some contributions and sent it to them to assist with their hospital expenses,” said Mr Mulupe.

 

PMGH needs blood donations every week

The National, Friday June 3rd, 2016

COORDINATOR of the Port Moresby General Hospital’s  ANZ Corporate Blood Drive (CBD) Anna Megueria says the hospital requires  at least 400 screened bags every week to assist those in need.
“At any time PMGH has a stock of blood at hand, however we need at least 800 to 1000 people to try to donate blood so that we can collect about 400 bags of blood every week. “Individual donors can donate blood every three to four months if they are in good health and are aged between 18 and 60 years old, weigh at least 45kg, and have not had symptoms of infection such as sore throat, cough, runny nose and diarrheoa for at least one week, and have not had a fever in the last three weeks. “Blood donors can come to donate blood either during corporate blood drives or to PMGH’s blood bank. The blood bank centre is open every day from 9am to 3pm except for public holidays. She said that a lot of Port Moresby businesses are happy to support this worthy cause and mostly got in touch with the CBD team to organise a blood drive for their staff. ‘Donate blood and save a life’ is the message from the Corporate Blood Drive supported by the Port Moresby General Hospital
Any organisation wishing to arrange a blood drive can contact Anna – anna@corporateblooddrive.com.

 

‘Outlawed and abused’: human rights abuses against sex workers in PNG

By Camilla Burkot on June 1, 2016  http://devpolicy.org/in-brief/outlawed-abused-human-rights-abuses-sex-workers-png-20160601/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=5018b75d99-Devpolicy_News__June_3_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-5018b75d99-227683090

A new report issued by Amnesty International last week paints a deeply troubling picture of the human rights abuses commonly endured by sex workers in Papua New Guinea, including at the hands of police.

Based on interviews with nearly 30 sex workers in Port Moresby and Mount Hagen, as well as a selection of representatives from NGOs, health services, police and the Ombudsman’s and Public Solicitor’s offices, the report’s findings largely confirm and extend previous research conducted on the subject within PNG, as well as the global experience of sex workers in countries where sex work is criminalised and stigmatised. The evidence gathered of common police indifference to – and in some cases active perpetration of – crimes committed against sex workers in PNG is particularly disturbing.

Though sex work itself is not technically illegal, the report notes that a number of PNG’s laws – many of which are colonial-era legal transplants from Queensland’s criminal code, with provisions that have since been repealed in Australia – discriminate against and disadvantage sex workers. Because they focus on the act of selling rather than buying sex, laws against ‘living on the earnings of prostitution’ and ‘keeping or owning a brothel’, among others (p. 19-20), leave sex workers but not their clients legally culpable.

Interviewees (including representatives of the police’s Internal Affairs Unit) recounted numerous cases of unlawful detention (p. 27-8) and of police treating possession of condoms as evidence of sex work or of intent to spread HIV/AIDS (also a criminal offense in PNG) (p. 28-30). But most harrowing are the testimonies of direct abuses of sex workers by police officers, including rape and extortion (p. 30-3). Though in most cases sex workers are not charged with an offence, the criminal code enables corrupt police to use the implicit threat of arrest against them (p. 30). Despite the severity of the abuse, many sex workers express reluctance to file complaints against the police out of fear of further retribution.

 

Beon Jail running out of food rations

Post Courier, June 07, 2016

THE BEON Jail in Madang is currently facing an acute food shortage for its inmates. This was revealed today by a senior Correctional Services officer from Beon Jail who was supervising the stall set-up for this weekend‘s Madang Festival at Laiwaden oval. The CS officer who requested anonymity. said the food ration to feed the inmates is running so short and they are making desperate appeals to business houses in Madang town and the provincial government for possible assistance. He pointed out that the short fall in government funding is one of the major contributing factors that lead to food rations running out.

 

More specialist midwives needed
Post Courier, June 14, 2016

MORE than half of the 250,000 annual births are delivered under recognised supervision in facilities, a health conference has been told. The conference heard that only 102,000 births – around 40 per cent – are supervised in facilities. According to the Health Department standards, supervision of these numbers of birth requires at least 600 to 800 midwives. At the moment, there are about 500 practising midwives nationwide. Aid agency AusAID support for midwifery education has facilitated the training of the current 400 new midwives since 2012. However, due to the older age structure of the current midwifery workforce, this number barely has an impact on the total stock of midwives for the country. Almost as many midwives have retired, moved out of midwifery, died or have been retrenched.

The review showed that between 2010 and 2014, the school of medicine and health sciences at the University of PNG and Port Moresby General Hospital had trained 40 doctors in the post-graduate diploma of obstetrics and gynaecology, and 15 specialist obstetrician gynaecologists. Unfortunately, the program at the school to train doctors with specialist maternity care skills ended last year. In general nursing and community health workers training in obstetrics, the curriculum only provides for reasonable basic care training in maternal and new born care. It is estimated that about one-third of these general health staff end up providing midwife and obstetric care. The shortage of skilled health workers is most stark at the district level. Only 39 of 88 districts have access to a doctor. This translates to over five million people without a direct access to a doctor, according to the report.

 

Lodge owner bans alcohol

The National, Friday June 17th, 2016

THE owner of a lodge in Jiwaka has decided not to sell alcohol because alcohol-related problems have become a very serious threat to business houses and the community. Gibson Yuants who owns Molka Lodge in Minj cleared all his stocks of alcoholic beverages last week. Molka Lodge is a popular lodge in the province and the highlands region. Yuants says Molka provides accommodation and other facilities and entertainment services but alcohol has become a major concern. He says he used to make “heaps of money” from the sale of alcohol because the lodge was located just along the Highlands Highway.
“I’m sacrificing to stop the sale of alcohol because people are not behaving when under the influence of alcohol. “I have been dealing with drunkards all my life and this time I have decided to find a solution and that is to completely stop the sale of alcohol,” he said.  He says nowadays people under the influence of alcohol behaved in a very disorderly manner. “Molka Lodge will only provide accommodation, conferences center and other services but it won’t sell alcohol.”

 

Lack of funds affect St John Ambulance’s operations

The National, Friday June 17th, 2016

Some branches and divisions of St John Ambulance are now under different managements because of insufficient funds to manage all of them, acting CEO Mollen Molki says. Molki said due to financial problems, the branch in Wewak and some other centres had been handed over to the provincial governments. He said the St John Ambulance branch in Port Moresby looks after some parts of Gulf and Central. Molki said St John Ambulance was also located in Bougainville but was forced to shut down during the Bougainville crisis. He said negotiations with the Bougainville government were underway to have the branch there re-opened.  “We also had other services such as caring of the blind and the blood bank which were taken under the care of the Government because there were no funds available to keep them in operation.” Molki says that institutions such as the Gordon and Gerehu clinics used to be under St John Ambulance but were recently handed over to the Government due to the same reason.

Bougainville Women Turn Around Lives of ‘Lost Generation’

http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/06/bougainville-women-turn-around-lives-of-lost-generation/

HAKO, Buka Island, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea , Jun 13 2016 (IPS) – Finding a sense of identity and purpose, as well as employment are some of the challenges facing youths in post-conflict Bougainville, an autonomous region in eastern Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific Islands. They have been labelled the ‘lost generation’ due to their risk of being marginalised after missing out on education during the Bougainville civil war (1989-1998), known locally as the ‘Crisis’.

But in Hako constituency, where an estimated 30,000 people live in villages along the north coast of Buka Island, North Bougainville, a local women’s community services organisation refuses to see the younger generation as anything other than a source of optimism and hope. “They are our future leaders and our future generation, so we really value the youths,” Dorcas Gano, president of the Hako Women’s Collective (HWC) told IPS. “There were no schools, no teachers and no services here and we had no food to eat. I saw people killed with my own eyes and we didn’t sleep at night, we were frightened.” — Gregory Tagu, who was in fifth grade when the war broke out.

Youth comprise about 60 percent of Bougainville’s estimated population of 300,000, which has doubled since the 1990s. The women’s collective firmly believes that peace and prosperity in years to come depends on empowering young men and women in these rainforest-covered islands to cope with the challenges of today with a sense of direction. One challenge, according to Gregory Tagu, a youth from Kohea village, is the psychological transition to a world without war….

In Hako, women are particularly concerned for the 70 percent of early school leavers who are unemployed and in 2007 the collective conducted their first skills training program. More than 400 youths were instructed in 30 different trade and technical skills, creative visual and music art, accountancy, leadership, health, sport, law and justice and public speaking. Two-thirds of those who participated were successful in finding employment, Gano claims.

 

Women’s economic empowerment: the importance of small market stall vendors in urban Papua New Guinea

By Michelle Nayahamui Rooney on June 16, 2016

Women’s economic empowerment: the importance of small market stall vendors in urban Papua New Guinea

…Evidence already tells us that a significant number of people in urban areas rely on the informal sector, and that women dominate this form of economic engagement [1]. A similar pattern is shown in the findings of a small survey I conducted during my fieldwork in Port Moresby in 2013. Men dominated income earning activities in waged employment while women were the key players in the informal sector (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1: Types of income earning activity, by gender (%; n=82)

 

When the family falls short they turn to the informal income earner – usually the mother whose income is earned on a daily basis from her small market stall – to supplement income until the next payday. Because the income is earned daily, the family is able to buy food in smaller portions on a daily basis.

For many — perhaps most — women in urban areas, small market stalls are usually their most viable option for making a bit of money to support their families. These intimate spaces of economic and social empowerment have been long neglected, but deserve to be better understood.

 

O’Neill’s home province provides 70% of defence force recruits http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/06/oneills-home-province-provides-70-of-defence-force-recruits.html#more

PRIME minister Peter O’Neill and defence minister Fabian Pok have been accused of pursuing recruitment policies that skew the composition of the PNG Defence Force to personnel from their own highlands provinces. Deputy opposition leader Sam Basil says that since Mr O’Neill came to power 70% of defence recruits have come from his Ialibu-Pangia Electorate in the Southern Highlands while 30% have come from Jiwaka Province, home of Dr Pok. O’Neill became prime minister and Dr Pok’s appointment as defence minister. “Peter O’Neill is from Southern Province and Dr Pok is from Jiwaka Province and it is obvious that the recruitment of soldiers are based on those two provinces with Ialibu-Pangia dominating,” Mr Basil said. He stated that he had “reliable information leaked from the PNGDF to the opposition” adding that he had challenged Dr Pok in parliament to provide lists of soldiers recruited since 2013 “to prove that I am wrong”. Mr Basil also said he had PNGDF documents that instructed recruitment officers to overlook “minor issues such as marital status and false education certificates to allow for soldiers from Ialibu Pangia to be recruited”.

 

Refugee Day celebrated
Post Courier, June 22, 2016

WORLD Refugee Day is a time to remember the struggles that refugees go through and also to remember countries or states who have provided humanitarian support to refugees in their times of need.

With the theme “PNG Welcomes Refugees”, the event was coordinated by International Organisation for Migration and Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority. Speaking at the World Refugee Day commemoration were deputy chief migration officer of the Refugee Division Esther Gaegaming, Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis, the Catholic Bishops Conference general secretary Father Victor Roche and United Nations resident coordinator Roy Trivedy. Also attending were invited guests from the private and public sector, refugees from West Papua as well .

 

Millions owed to medical contractors
Post Courier, June 23, 2016

THE Government owes millions of kina in outstanding payments to suppliers and distributors of medical drugs. The payments are more than K50 million and owed for more than six months. That figure was given by contractors, suppliers and distributors of medicine in the country. The figure could go higher but the Health Department says it does not have exact figures. Health Minister Michael Malabag and Secretary Pascoe Kase are both aware of the outstanding payments and met on Monday to discuss the matter on outstanding payments. “I am aware of the outstanding payments and have expressed my concern to Finance and Treasury. “I have instructed the Health Secretary to do daily follow ups with the departments to ensure some payments are made,” Mr Malabag said. Mr Kase said: “We have talked with our suppliers and distributors of medicines and they appreciated the financial situation we are in so we are managing and we pay as we receive funds from treasury.

 

Liquor shops increase along sections of Highlands Highway

Post Courier, June 22,2016, 02:00 pm

POLICE in Chimbu province are concerned at the high number of liquor shops that have suddenly mushroomed along various sections of Highlands Highway in the province.  Provincial Police Commander Supt Albert Beli said liquor is being sold publicly like any other trade store commodities in the province and this has inflicted more social problems and lawlessness. Supt Beli said this when commending businessman Gibson Yuants, owner of the famous Molka Lodge at the Minj road junction in the neighboring Jiwaka province for banning the sale of liquor at the lodge last week. Supt Beli said ‘money is not everything’ and the manner in which Mr Yuants prioritised human life and well-being ahead of fast money making business in the sale of beer must be emulated by all aspiring businessman and women who opt for liquor trade. Supt Beli said Chimbu has serious law and order problems that stem from the consumption of alcohol, adding that unlike in the past where beer is sold at restricted places, today clubs, pubs and taverns have mushroomed all over the province from Miunde on the Jiwaka border to Magiro on the Eastern Highlands boarder.

 

Parts of country facing food shortage

The National, Thursday June 23rd, 2016

CERTAIN parts of the country are still facing food shortage months after the drought hit the country, according to Dr Mike Bourke of the Australian National University. He told The National yesterday that this was particularly true in parts of Western and Milne Bay. “The drought is well and truly over. All over Papua New Guinea, it’s been raining,” Bourke said. “This has been going on for almost a year now, and also down in Morehead. “Food is also short in Milne Bay, particularly in many small atolls and small islands, and also in the north coast towards Rabaraba.” He said the high-altitude areas badly hit last July by frost included Kandep and Upper Lagaip Valley in Enga, and across the provincial border into Hela.
“Food is still scarce. Food distribution is going on as we speak.” Bourke said international organisations such as the World Food Programme and CARE were involved in food distribution. “Even now in 2016, the impact of food shortage is still happening,” he said. “A limited number of areas, but we are talking about 250,000 to 300,000 people. “There are about 80,000 people in Milne Bay and there are maybe 40,000 people in Western. The numbers are reasonably large.” Dr Bourke said things would get better soon. “Our understanding is that by September, this will be all over. But that’s three months away and still a long time to be short of food,” he said.

Stitched mouth extremist granted freedom
Post Courier, June 28, 2016

The foreigner who shook Papua New Guinea two weeks ago when he stitched his mouth up to protest being deported has been granted freedom. Mohamed Dahan Ghagadali from Western Sahara in Morocco, Africa’s bizarre display of extremism made headlines when a picture of his stitched up mouth was circulated over several media platforms including social media. The African was released from Bomana Prison yesterday on the conditions that he has the stitches removed, refrain from going on hunger strikes again and report to the PNG Immigration office every Wednesday for evaluation. Ghagadali’s lawyer Mr Ben Lomai told the press that his client’s fingerprint’s and photo have been taken and that the immigration office is in the process of reassessing Ghagadali’s application for fulltime residency in PNG.

Ghagadali was found to have been an illegal immigrant in July 2015 and was as a result detained at Bomana prison for the past six months awaiting deportation. The foreigner has three children and is married to a Papua New Guinea woman to whom he lived with for five years prior to his incarceration.

 

Clinic records 1000 HIV cases

The National, Wednesday June 29th, 2016

Kundiawa General Hospital has recorded over 1000 confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS at the hospital’s special clinic. Director of the Prapra HIV testing clinic, a branch of the hospital, Dr John Tonar confirmed there were 1030 cases recorded. He said these were cases reported at the clinic but estimated that there could be an equal number of cases still out in the communities. “This unreported cases also have their partners, therefore I anticipate that there are some 3000 to 4000 people infected and are living in the communities,” Dr Tonar said. He said the confirmed cases recorded at the clinic were mainly from unprotected sex.Dr Tonar gave these statistics during a  school HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) exposition at Gembogl station in upper Chimbu last week. He said knowledge was a powerful tool to avoid contracting HIV and TB. He praised Gembogl district disease control officer Willie Gene Michael and teachers from Goro, Denglagu, Gembogl, Womatne and Bongugl primary schools who staged the exposition.  The event involved students who took part in dramas, debates, marches, poems and essays on the reality of HIV/AIDS and TB. “I thank you teachers for being instrumental in disseminating health messages through various means, you are working very hard to educate our future generations on the dangers of HIV/AIDS and TB. Your effort will go a long way to save our future generations.”
Dr Tonar is also the leader of the rural outreach team of the Kundiawa hospital that goes out to districts and villages to provide health care for patients who could not travel to the hospital.

Brexit: What lessons are there for PNG and the Pacific?

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/06/brexit-what-lessons-are-there-for-png-and-the-pacific.html.  Economist | Edited extracts

EUROPE is in shock as Britain votes to pull out of the European Union in what is now termed the ‘Brexit’. Britain is important to the EU because it is its second largest economy, and the world’s fifth largest. Thus her exit is raising fears that a domino effect could follow with other countries leaving the union. Questions are now being asked if the EU will survive. There is evidence indicating that right wing ‘nationalists’ in other countries are now pushing for an exit from the EU. One could argue that this is rather premature given Britain and the EU have not yet seen the full extent of the Brexit outcome.

The EU is currently negotiating a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with all 14 island states in the south Pacific. The comprehensive agreement will cover trade in goods and services, development cooperation, food health and safety, agriculture, sustainable development and competition.

The Brexit looks as though the EU might put a temporary halt to this negotiation. Britain, for its part, is going to have to negotiate an exit strategy with the EU which seems likely to have effects in this part of the world including a renegotiation of the terms of the economic partnership agreement.

The interim agreement provided PNG with duty free access into the British and European markets; a renegotiation could potentially turn this around and affect PNG’s economy – especially its foreign reserves which are already under pressure. This would spell disaster for PNG given its current economic condition where problems in the foreign reserves have forced the government to pursue extraordinary borrowing measures. The decision by Britain to hold a referendum to decide its future in the EU has brought to the forefront the important question of whether the Pacific could emulate a similar economic union. There is merit for such a set-up to facilitate trade and labour mobility – and it is an issue that has recently gained recognition. There is also a need to establish a common security policy to address terrorism, illegal fishing, transnational crime, human smuggling and border protection. Most Pacific Island nations have just a tiny military to protect their borders or exclusive economic zones.

The Pacific islands nations could explore introducing a common currency. However, as we have seen with the Greek crisis, such an option is not presently viable in a region which is prone to global market shocks. Nevertheless, having a common currency could ease payments for trade in raw materials and reduce transaction costs to boost tourism.

 

Statement on the current political tension in Papua New Guinea

Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG/SI.  9 June 2016

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinean and Solomon Islands views with concern the recent escalation of the political struggle currently taking place in Papua New Guinea.

Political disputes must be handled in the appropriate forum: parliament, guided by the Constitution. However every person in Papua New Guinea is obliged to follow the rule of law and the Melanesian Way, practicing restraint in times of conflict, avoiding escalation and the resort to violence.

We therefore appeal to all parties to express their legitimate concerns, even anger, without recourse to violence. In particular we appeal to the disciplined forces to follow correct procedures and never to use armed violence against our own unarmed citizens.

It is time for cooler heads to prevail, and for all parties to come together, mediated by a neutral third party, to work together for a peaceful outcome that follows the civil and gospel principles of honesty, truth and justice.

We repeat our appeal for Parliament to genuinely address the growing curse of corruption in our country. There appears to be not only a lack of political will but even sometimes a deliberate avoidance of tackling the issue, which we believe lies behind much of the anger and unrest felt by students and the wider population.

Strengthen the Ombudsman Commission. Fast track the Independent Commission against Corruption. Depoliticize the public service and the disciplined forces.

The knife that cuts out corruption must cut cleanly and quickly.

Catholic Bishops Conference PNG/SI

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s