Social Concerns Notes – March 2017

Yuri peace building activities focus on mobilising youth

01 March 2017 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2017/02/yuri-peace-building-activities-focus-on-mobilising-youth.html#more

AT the heart of all the activities of the Yuri Alaiku Kuikane Association (YAKA) are the 4Rs – reunion, reconciliation, rebuilding and restoration. YAKA – established to bring the Yuri people of Simbu peace and development – has quietly celebrated many achievements over the last three years. Cultured Yuri people understand that these achievements are the seeds of a continuously peaceful society. It is their gift to ensuing generations. Unfortunately, there are uncultured people who don’t understand and appreciate YAKA’s achievements.

In these three years, there has been renewed tribal unity. It can happen over beer, shared cigarettes, chatting on Facebook, email, cultural events, youth camps or just walking and talking along the bush tracks of home amongst the never ending gorges and mountain ridges.

These are some of the manifestations of tribal unity and celebration.

In the last week of December and on the first day of January each year, YAKA members come together to celebrate. The Yuri people are scattered all over Papua New Guinea, looking for a better life just like other Papua New Guineans. A few work and live in other countries.

They are hard-working people, who contribute tirelessly to nation building: some at tribal level, others at government level and others using the churches as a vehicle to unite the tribe and expose it to development challenges. [for the full article, see the url above]

 

TB rate skyrocketing

March 3, 2017 The National

THE rate of new infections for tuberculosis (TB) per year in Papua New Guinea has increased from 3000 in 2005 to 30,000 in 2015, an official says. Businesses for Health (B4H) TB project manager Dr Ann Clarke said at a project launching: “Business for Health TB project aims to engage the private sector to support the Department of Health’s efforts to end the TB epidemic and reduce the high rates of drug resistant TB, particularly in the National Capital District. “Around 20 per cent (more than 6000 of the nearly 30,000 new TB infections in PNG were detected in National Capital District in 2015.”
“I am not here to try and turn you into TB experts and TB doctors. I am here to change behaviours and to provide network and information necessary for you to make use of the world class facilities that can be found in 15 locations around the NCD. “If we can stop people getting sick, after one year and two years and start attending to people coughing up to two weeks we can change the pace of this epidemic.”

 

B’ville independence depends on Panguna
Post Courier, March 03, 2017

THE Bougainville Government’s position on Panguna mine had always been clear – to re-open it, says Bougainville Vice-President Raymond Masono. Mr Masono said that the region would have fiscal self-reliance and also the majority of Bougainvilleans would enjoy a better life again when the mine re-opens. He said there was opposition to the mine re-opening but they were a minority. “We need Panguna to finance independence for Bougainville,” he added. Mr Masono said that the mine would bring quick development and it still had a large known reserve yet to be mined. Last week in Buka, K5 million was paid to four landowner associations. The cheque payment by Bougainville Copper Limited was done at Kuri Village Resort and was witnessed by Mr Masono, ABG Ministers, senior government officers and staff. “It is not the devil that we used to know, but it’s now the devil that we own,” Mr Masono said in reference to BCL, adding that it would be foolish go out looking for other developers when BCL was available. Six landowner associations that were established before the Bougainville Crisis (1988-1998) and another three were established after the conflict, bringing the total to nine landowner associations. More than K14 million will be made to the Panguna landowner groups when Bougainville Copper Limited completes outstanding claims are settled.

 

BCL compensation payments trigger disputes in Bougainville

09 March 2017 http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2017/03/bcl-compensation-payments-trigger-disputes-in-bougainville.html#more

LAST Saturday morning at around 10 o’clock two vehicles passed my hamlet at the entrance of the Panguna mine’s pit drainage tunnel. On them were faces I knew from Konnuku Village, downstream from the Panguna tailings carried along in the Kabarong River. All the faces were angry and showed there was a purpose to their run. That purpose became clear on Monday. An entire family homestead was torched. The victims lost all their property and valuables, including money, to the fire. The reason for the raid was that the father of the family was said to have received K50,000 in compensation from Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) for land blocks owned by his matrilineal family and he was not sharing it with his matrilineal uncles and nieces. Such anti-social quakes are now rocking the entire Panguna mine affected areas as they receive outstanding compensation owed to them by BCL since 1990 when the Bougainville conflict interrupted mining operations. During the heyday of BCL on Bougainville, landowners with legal title to land affected by company operations received monthly royalties. My grandmother said she received about K170 a month.

After almost 25 years she will get K7,000. This is because some of the blocks of land were under her name and legal ownership devolved to her children and grandchildren but not my mother, who did not want us to have title to any piece of land belonging to our extended family. My mother claims too many Bougainvilleans have suffered as a result of the Panguna mine thus, for her, this is blood money. We do not want to benefit from blood money.

My mother’s stand is not an isolated one. Within the benefiting communities people’s social bonds are being axed by this process. ….

What belongs to the landowners of the mine affected areas belongs to them. It is their business with BCL. But maintaining a harmonious co-existence within our community is paramount for Bougainville as a whole.

 

Caritas Coodinators opposes sea bed mining
Post Courier, March 06,2017, 10:00 am

CARITAS Coordinators from 19 Catholic Dioceses of the Catholic Church of PNG have opposed the decision to experiment deep sea mining in PNG. The organisation held its Annual Caritas PNG Forum 2017 in Madang last month and among others opposed and called to put a stop to experimental seabed mining in PNG waters. The group said in a statement that the negative impacts of the mine greatly outweigh the anticipated benefits. “Therefore, in solidarity with Alliance of Solwara Warriors, Bismarck Ramu Group, and other concerned organisations, we are compelled to speak out on behalf of the affected silent majority in the rural coastal and island communities,” the group said. The group added that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Mining Minister Byron Chan to order an immediate ban on experimental seabed mining. We call on all governors and Open Members of Parliament of Maritime Provinces to support this call on behalf of their people.

 

Converting illegal leases makes people slaves on own land

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2017/03/converting-illegal-leases-makes-people-slaves-on-their-own-land.html#more 07 March 2017

COMMUNITY advocacy group Act Now has condemned plans by the Papua New Guinean government to convert unlawful land leases to another form of land tenure using Incorporated Land Groups. Act Now says converting the so-called SABL leases will not only repeat injustice and human rights abuses, it will give control of vast tracts of land to a small number of people overseen by a corrupt and dysfunctional Department of Lands. Act Now says the plan is an attempt by the government to appease the foreign owned logging industry and oil palm companies and ensure a continuation of their illegal occupation of customary land.

“If the land ends up being registered then it could be sold, leased or mortgaged again and again,” Act Now said. “It is the next step in making people slaves in their own communities and excluding them permanently from their land.” Act Now said the only proper course of action is for the government to cancel the leases and return the land to customary landholders. It will then be for the people to decide on the future of their land. It said that over the past 10 years fraudulent Special Agriculture Business Leases have been used to steal rights to more than five million hectares of customary land from local communities. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had promised the government would implement the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry and cancel the leases; but now the Lands Minister wants to convert them to another form of land tenure.

 

‘No safety gear on Rabaul Queen’
Date: March 10, 2017, 5:08am News.com.au

SAFETY equipment were non-existent on the vessel the night the Rabaul Queen sank in the waters of Morobe Province on February 2, 2012, claiming more than 170 lives. A State witness Elvin Lunagau said this during the trial of the owner of the ship, Peter Sharp.

Mr Sharp and Peter Tsiau, the captain of the vessel the night it sank, are facing several charges of manslaughter before the Kokopo National Court in East New Britain Province. Mr Lunagau told the court that the vessel had no life jackets on board when it left Kimbe wharf in West New Britain Province. He is the first of more than 10 witnesses who will be giving evidence in the first week of the trial. Mr Lunagau gave evidence that the ship was overloaded, making it impossible for passengers in the lower decks to escape when it started sinking..

 

No dialysis treatment to cure chronic kidney disease in PNG
Post Courier, March 10, 2017

CHRONIC kidney disease (CKD) is becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, and Papua New Guinea is no exception. According to data collected by the PNG Kidney Foundation in 2016, around 40 per cent of deaths in PNG are because of the diseases and 60 per cent of patients suffer from chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis, but cannot afford to get treatment. Only 40 per cent of patients are able to seek further treatment.

Mr Poh said currently, in the foundation, they have seen more than 70 patients who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney failure and undergo hemodialysis treatment three times a week. “So far we have provided 2000 sessions of hemodialysis treatment,” he said.

“It’s a problem I’ve noticed from the last couple of years where many patients have come in to the Port Moresby General hospital but we do not have proper facilities and we lose many of the patients. “Because we do not have much to offer, and we continue to tell the patients that if you do not have this amount of money to go overseas for kidney transplant, this is the end of the road to life,” he said.

 

PNG surprises Australia with request to change structure of aid

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2017/03/png-surprises-australia-with-request-to-change-structure-of-aid.html#more

AUSTRALIA’S increasingly tricky relationship with Papua New Guinea could be about to get more difficult. The PNG government has asked Australia to directly fund its health and education spending after it suffered a severe economic downturn and was forced to make major budget cuts. PNG used the 25th ministerial forum between the two countries to ask Australia to shift its $500 million of annual aid away from narrowly-focused programs into helping fund its health, education and infrastructure priorities. Australia has given $5 billion in aid over the last decade, but has been changing its approach for the past few years.

Some comments: I’m quite happy for my Australian taxes to go towards helping PNG solve its Health and Education problems. The Health problem is huge. People are dying everyday from curable illness. The future of PNG relies on its Education.

Here is a comment from a Health Worker in Maprik in the Sepik, one of my friends, made yesterday….

“We are now facing the problem of the decisions made by the top people and the government of that time and now we are using some of the sub standard drugs.

“For example the current Lignocaine vial for injection to stop pain before suturing a wound is not working, but we suture the patients with pain which is unethical and unprofessional.

“Still worse, all Health facilities in PNG are facing serious drug shortages than all the previous years before 2013. “Currently all Health workers are referring their patients to pharmacies to buy their own drugs or for those who cannot afford to buy are asked to use herbal remedies to treat themselves. “The people are being told to look after themselves as all Health facilities are facing the problem of drug shortage while the country is facing cash flow problem.

 

Papua New Guinea gets a dose of resource curse

By Michael Main from the Australian National University

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-10/png-gets-a-dose-of-resource-curse-from-exxonmobils-lng-project/8343090

The Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is the largest resource extraction project in the Asia-Pacific region. Constructed at a stated cost of US$19 billion, it’s operated by ExxonMobil in joint venture with Oil Search and four other partners. The project extracts natural gas from the Papua New Guinea highlands, where it is processed before being sent via some 700 kilometres of pipeline to a plant near the nation’s capital, Port Moresby. The gas is then liquefied and transferred into ships for sale offshore. Construction for the project began in 2010, and the first gas shipment was made in May 2014.

 

In the years since construction began, Papua New Guinea’s ranking on the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index has fallen by two places to 158, having been overtaken by Zimbabwe and Cameroon. Far from enhancing development indicators, the largest development project in PNG’s history has coincided with an unprecedented downgrade in the country’s development status. But very little is known about the actual impact of the project on local landowners. This is largely due to the remote location of the gas field in the mountainous Hela Province. The dire security situation in that part of Papua New Guinea also makes any investigation a highly dangerous undertaking.

 

But the reality — after four years of operation and windfall profits for the project’s joint venture partners — is that the project has delivered almost nothing of benefit to landowners.

The most terrifying aspect of life in Hela province has been the proliferation of weapons. The This pre-existing context of intense inter-clan rivalry has been made worse by the frustrations of a population hammered by the broken promises of the nation’s largest resource development project. Much of this fighting is a direct result of payments made to landowners displaced by the project. Compensation money paid to affected clans invariably ends up in the hands of individuals who fail to distribute the funds properly or support their own families, and the money is always paid to men. Papua New Guinea now faces a situation where it’s compelled to send its army to an area where a major resource extraction project has failed to deliver on its promises to landowners. It may be time for all parties involved — both state and corporate — to consider development as a more effective path to peace.

 

All SABLs unlawful
March 14,2017, 01:28 am

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has confirmed that the National Executive Council has cancelled all licences and SABLs are illegal. He said this in response to a community advocacy group Act Now which had been vocal about the land grab issue in relation to SABL – special agriculture and business leases. “I have made a decision that I can make that is legally required of me and NEC, that is that we have cancelled all the licences, all the SABL licenses are illegal in this country.” PM O’Neill said.

“I think that its best that you ask the agencies like Lands and Physical Planning Department why are these licenses are still operating, that’s a very good question, you should ask them why they are still operating, somebody is not doing their job.”

“SABL licences are illegal in this country, but some people have disregard for the decisions that we are making and this is where Police and Lands and Physical Planning Department and agencies of our government should work together and stop these people”

“Most of them are not Papua New Guineans so why are they still in the country, they should be put on a plane and sent back home,” Mr O’Neill said.

 

Sir Salamo: Processing of refugee status fair

March 14, 2017 The National

CHIEF Justice Sir Salamo Injia says that 69 per cent of asylum seekers receiving refugee status at the Manus regional processing centre shows that there is a fair and merit-based process in place. Sir Salamo was part of a panel of three judges from the Supreme Court who refused to stop the deportation of asylum seekers classified as non-genuine refugees.
“The high number of refugees has now placed the Government of PNG and the government of Australia under enormous and onerous responsibility to settle them in a new home country of their choice, including Australia and PNG,” Sir Salamo said.
He said the respondents in the matter, the State and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister “At the peak of the transfers (of asylum seekers to Manus) in November 2013, the number of transferees reached 1339,” Sir Salamo said.
“On March 6, the number was reduced to 888. I would have to assume that the difference of 451 transferees has already been processed and no question arises in respect of them.
“The respondents (State and Pato) say some of those have returned to their home countries voluntarily. “Of the 888, a total of 819 transferees have been processed of which 614 (69 per cent) have been determined to be genuine refugees, 205 (23 per cent) determined to be non-refugees and 69 (3 per cent) still remain asylum seekers and their applications are under processing.”Sir Salamo said that the processing of asylum seekers’ refugee status should remain the responsibility of the PNG Government through the application of PNG law and international law on refugees.

 

MP urge churches to challenge Govt
Post Courier, March 15, 2017

CHURCHES have been accused of being compromised because they do not criticise the Government over serious issues affecting the people. They have also been blamed for not keeping the government in check.nThis is according to Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil who was speaking at a policy awareness gathering at the Mutzing Station in Morobe Province. Mr Basil also said despite bringing a Bible into Parliament, Members had no respect for it and were creating deals everywhere when they should be repenting. Mr Basil praised the Catholic Bishop’s Conference as the only Christian entity that prominently spoke out on issues affecting the people. “Churches must question the government,” Mr Basil said.

He said the churches are a body that can question the government in the interest of the people.

“I commend the Catholic Bishop’s Conference because they are vocal about issues affecting our people,” Mr Basil said. He said the leaders of this nation are abusing the Christian title that PNG has.

 

Shortage of medicine due to administrative delays
Post Courier, March 14, 2017

The Governments failure to renew the contract for medical supplies has health facilities feeling the pinch of medicine shortage. Finance secretary and acting chairman for CSTB Dr Ken Ngangan said yesterday that an administrative delay has led to an interim arrangement (Certificate Of Inexpedience) with State Solicitor seeking  the extension of the current 100 percent medical kits contract with Contractor Borneo Pacific for one year. This means that the medicine contractor Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals will continue to supply medical drugs for one year. (Beginning November 2016). Dr Ken said sent a letter to the health secretary requesting that his department fast tract the new contacts so that delays may not occur again.

 

Domestic violence increasing, says Police

March 15, 2017 The National

CASES of domestic violence reported in the suburbs of Waigani are alarming and need to be addressed, an officer says. Chief Sergeant Andrew Geluwa of the Waigani police station said at least 25 cases were reported to the station each day.
“There are lots of reported cases of domestic violence in other stations but for Waigani alone, it is scary,” he said.
“It is at an alarming rate and we have to do something to address it because the media do not see what is happening to the people.” Geluwa said most of the reports received were from highlanders living around Waigani. He said the traditional belief that men own their wives after paying bride prices was one of the reasons for the increase. He said men attacked their wives after paying the bride price without realising that wife-bashing was a crime.
Senior Constable Marlton Bessie said the figures were alarming. “In 2016, when we looked at the statistic in the first two months, it was terrible. Every day, we are receiving reports of about 25 cases,” Bessie said. “That happens every single day in a week and it is scary to see that most of the cases received from the front desk all are related to family issues, whether it is assault or rape.”

 

Churches urged to help fight HIV hike
Post Courier, March 16, 2017

HEADS of churches have been encouraged to make proactive recommendations on how they will address the root causes of HIV transmission and sensitive issues associated with it.

Catholic Archbishop of Port Moresby Cardinal John Ribat said this at the first HIV Summit for Heads of Churches at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby yesterday. “As heads of churches, we will have to report back on our HIV Statement of Commitment which was signed on May 5, 2010. “It is also a time for us to learn about the current HIV situation at the country, regional and global level and to see where the response gaps are and how we as churches can respond to addressing those gaps,” he said. “This summit is not about solving the problem of HIV and AIDS but it is more about finding a solution through collective effort that will impact on distorted values, attitudes and behaviors of people. “We must focus on building relationships with our people through Christian love and service so that we may be able to lead them to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said. Cardinal Ribat urged the Government to increase domestic funding to support church programs driven to address the root causes of GBV and HIV transmission. He said in order to build and maintain that relation, the Christian leaders have to effectively communicate with the people through provision of programs and services at the community level.

 

Ex-inmates invited to mentor city youth
Post Courier, March 16, 2017

EX-prisoners of Hope Association in Lae are inviting youths and ex-prisoners, convicts to refrain from crime and illegal activities and join their association. Ex-prisoners and founders of the Ex-prisoners Association Levi Ateike Bata and Richard Mongofa, in an interview, told Post-Courier it is time the prisoners preach and conduct awareness on the ‘life in the fast lane’ so that today’s youth can understand better.

Mr Ateike said minimising crime activities in the city can be fulfilled with the Ex-prisoners of Hope programs to change the mindset of youths and prisoners and give them a hope for a better future. He said today’s generations or gang groups must come to an understanding that police forces and laws and ways of organised crime activities in the past is not an exception compared to today’s disciplinary and law system. “I am now calling on the ex-prisoners and youth who are still involved in criminal activities to starting making the choice to join us and leave ‘the life of the fast lane,’” said Mr Ateike. He said crime will never take you anywhere but you will always end up at the prison and that is how crime is designed by the world.

 

Women with Disability still feel threatened
Post Courier, March 15, 2017

Access to public transportation for women with disability is non-existent and something must be done about it, says PNG Assembly of Disable Persons national executive treasurer and spokesperson Benson Tegia. “Women with disability feel threatened, unsafe and vulnerable to discrimination attacks when they try to access basic services,” he said.

He added that discrimination was another issue that most women with disability faced because many able bodied people are scared or have attitude problems. “We need to educate and create more awareness for able bodied people to understand that PWD’s are normal human beings like anyone else and deserve the same treatment, either it be security at home, accessing shops, hotels or being able to walk down the street without anyone giving that person the eye,” said Tegia. “Our city environment is built in a way that everything is at a disadvantage for persons living with disability, the foot paths are narrow, there’s no ramps for PWD’s to have access to shops, buses, clubs, hospitals and the list goes on,” said Tegia.

He added that as tax payers, PWD’s had the right to access basic services.

 

PNG tops HIV statistics in Pacific

March 16, 2017 The National

PAPUA New Guinea has the highest HIV prevalence among the Pacific island nations – with the concentration highest in the Highlands provinces, an official says.National Aids Council Secretariat regional manager Valentine Tangoh told a summit of church leaders in Port Moresby discussing HIV/AIDS in PNG, that HIV prevalence was around 0.8 per cent among men and women between 15 and 49 years of age. Enga recorded 1.7 per cent, Jiwaka 1.6 per cent, Western Highlands 1.3 per cent and Eastern Highlands one per cent. He said studies showed a high prevalence of HIV among female sex workers (19 per cent), male sex workers (8.8 per cent) and transgender males. Tangoh said the HIV prevalence rate in other provinces was also increasing. The key groups were men and women involved in the sex industry, he said. He also told the church leaders that the key groups were often discriminated against.
“Even the police refuse to file cases, (public sector) staff refuse to provide services which the key population need, and most commonly, family rejection,” Tangoh said.
 

How rural women can become Papua New Guinea’s agribusiness entrepreneurs

14 Mar 2017

http://www.businessadvantagepng.com/women-transforming-agribusiness-in-png/?utm_source=Business+Advantage+PNG+weekly+update&utm_campaign=8bb560e82e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_07&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_02084d248f-8bb560e82e-414187405

Women in rural Papua New Guinea are keen to engage in agribusiness but many have traditionally struggled to take leadership roles. That is beginning to change, Curtin University researcher Dr Gina Koczberski tells Business Advantage PNG.

Operating small-scale agribusiness financially empowers women by giving them greater control of household income and expenditure, according to Dr Gina Koczberski, who is researching ways women in rural areas of Papua New Guinea can take up more leadership roles in agribusiness. It also results in a range of benefits for the wider community. On average, 75 per cent of income generated by women is used to meet family needs, compared with 25 per cent of men’s income. …

 

‘Causes of HIV remain’

March 17, 2017 The National

THE factors that cause the rise in HIV transmission remain today, according to National Catholic AIDS coordinator Sister Tarcisia Hunhoff. Hunhoff told the church leaders’ HIV summit in Port Moresby it appeared that “the same warnings that prompted concern in the past, including high level of sexually-transmitted infection and high level of sexual risks behaviour, social urban drift are evident today”. “An added factor in recent years is the resource boom that is bringing money and mobility to many people particularly in the remote areas,” she said. “The church is challenged by this situation in more than one way. What then is the church responses? Can we identify ourselves as bystanders, onlookers or judges or somebody who tried to understand what was happening?
“How then did you and I perceive the epidemic?” She said the change in lifestyle and behaviour remained the main cause of gender-based violence which was a root causes of the spread of HIV/AIDS. “I have lived 47 years in PNG and I have seen so many changes in lifestyle in behaviour. One of the contributions to the HIV epidemic in my opinion is the problem of social disintegration,” she said. “Society has disintegrated which is a very sad story. And out of this integration, all the problems we are seeing with HIV and gender-based violence.

High cost of living causes poverty

March 17, 2017 The National

THE rapidly rising cost of living in the country appears to be a major contributor to the high poverty rate since 2009, an official says. Martyn Namorong is the national coordinator of the PNG Resource Governance Coalition and Secretariat for Institute of National Affair Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council. “Poverty levels in PNG have gotten worse over the last decade. This indicates that being able to get out of poverty for those people who are poor are near impossible,” he said. He said urban poverty was likely to become one of the most important development challenges facing PNG and threatened progress. A study by the Waikato University, New Zealand found that between 1996 and 2009, there was no evidence of poverty decline in PNG (John Gibson 2013). It found that poverty instead had become more widespread with the rapid rise of urban living being the major contributing factor. Poverty in Port Moresby worsened because a larger share of six percent of the national poverty tally joined the poor. “Definitions of poverty in PNG tend to be debates over semantics. But the work by the Waikato University presented evidence of the child not growing as an indicator of nutritional poverty.”

 

Manam settlers facing school fees problems

March 17, 2017 The National

The people of Manam Island in Madang, who are living in care centres are facing school fees problems, their council president says. Iabu LLG president Martin Ururu said apart from other problems faced by the Islanders, school fees were a major concern for all parents.
Around 12,000 people of Manam Island were forced to evacuate the island in 2004 when a volcano erupted and they are now living in care centres in Bogia and Sumkar districts.
“My officers have been bombarded with request for school fees but my LLG cannot help because there is no money,” Ururu said. He said the Manam Resettlement Programme should assist the parents. “The LLG has been trying its best to pay school fees for university students, vocational and technical students but unfortunately we are running out of money because last year the Government didn’t give us our funds and now the LLG cannot assist,” Ururu said. Other problems faced by the Manam people include food shortage, poor housing, lack of clean drinking water, shortage of medical drugs and conflicts with landowners.

 

Australia on Manus: ‘Tough luck PNG, the refugees are your problem

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2017/03/australia-on-manus-tough-luck-png-the-refugees-are-your-problem.html

I CAN tell you what the Australian government is going to do about the refugees on Manus Island who won’t be resettled in the United States. Nothing.

There are potentially hundreds of men on Manus Island who could — if the figure of 1,250 refugees to be taken by the United States is correct — be left behind.

Parliamentary Library figures show there are at least 1,616 refugees on the two islands — 941 on Nauru and 675 on Manus. The US government has said it is assessing them for resettlement on the basis of vulnerability, which suggests the women and children on Nauru will take priority over the all-male population of the Manus Island centre. That could mean hundreds of refugees will remain on Manus Island. Their only option to leave Manus is resettlement elsewhere in Papua New Guinea — something most have steadfastly resisted.

The PNG government wants to know what plans Australia has for those men, given it wants to close the centre by the end of October. Planning Minister Charles Abel outlined PNG’s concerns after the annual ministerial forum between PNG and Australia recently.

“Some [of the men] are caught in the middle and that’s the difficult piece that needs to be addressed in this short time frame,” he said. “What happens to those people that don’t want to settle here and are unable to return home for some reason? That’s an issue that both parties have to resolve.” The number of refugees working and living in the PNG community — those who are considered “resettled” — fluctuates, but is usually less than two dozen. Many find it too hard, or too dangerous, to live in PNG and return to Manus Island.

 

Church requests govt to assist health workers
Post Courier, March 23,2017

MARY, Queen of Peace sub-health centre will provide other services if government steps in to pay some health workers. This was the request from Vicar General Father Arnold Schmitt during the opening of the K850,000 Mary, Queen of Peace sub-health centre at Lae’s Back Road area over the weekend. Fr Arnold said health accessibility in some parts of industrial city of Lae is lacking and the Catholic Church has stepped in to provide the health facility, equipment, medical supplies and workforce. “We are ready to open our doors to patients with four nursing officers, a cleaner and receptionist. “Two of the nurses are on the National Department of Health payroll while the other two nursing officers will be paid by the Catholic Health Services temporary while waiting for the government to take over,” Fr Schmitt explained. He said the challenge of expanding clinical services provided at the hospital will depend on government intervention with funding for additional manpower and health programs and activities roll-out.nFr Arnold said the services that will be provided is diagnosing patients and prescribing treatments but for blood testing of malaria, tuberculosis, sexual transmitted diseases and other testing services will be referred to other medical centers.

“This sub-health centre was promised K400,000 by the government but that commitment never comes in so we now don’t want that money because the sub-health centre is completed.

“We now request for more positions created for our health workers under the church partnership program so more services can be offered at the hospital,” Fr Arnold added.

 

Hospital to specialise in cancer, MDRT, orthopedics

March 23, 2017 The National

CANCER patients can now seek treatment at the Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Kundiawa General Hospital in Chimbu. This follows the announcement this week by the Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Michael Malabag on the hospital’s status being elevated from a level five hospital to a level six hospital. Malabag said that the level six hospital would be specialising in cancer, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and orthopedics. He said he was impressed that the hospital has been quietly providing quality health care not only to the people of Chimbu but the Highlands region and other parts of the country for many years.
“I commend the board and management and the staff for providing quality health care to the people.” Hospital acting chief executive officer Dr Harry Poka said that the board of the hospital has already allocated funds to purchase an MRI and CT scan equipment.
Poka said that the staff was prepared to work in line with the Government to accomplish the vision and mission for the people of Chimbu and the country.

 

47,000 HIV infections in PNG concerns UN AIDS agency

24 March 2017

ACCORDING to the United Nations, the latest statistics in Papua New Guinea estimate that almost 47,000 people are infected with HIV in a country whose population is about eight million. UNAIDS’ country director Stuart Watson says that there’s been an increase of 10,000 of people with HIV in the past two years. “In 2015 we estimated that the prevalence in the population was 0.7%. Just last week we completed the most recent estimations and projections for the epidemic in Papua New Guinea and we’re now at 0.91%.

So contrary to the trends in many parts of the world, unfortunately in PNG, which has roughly 95% of the epidemic burden in the Pacific region, is trending in the wrong direction. So in PNG, those figures translate into just under 47,000 people living with HIV; roughly 3,000 new infections in the last year, of which nearly a quarter were children and youths. So it’s definitely not a good situation. In the past year we also estimate that roughly 1,500 people died unnecessarily from AIDS-related illnesses in the country.

We’ve had some near and complete stock-outs of anti-retroviral medicines, we’ve had a complete stock-out of rapid-testing kits, many other supplies and commodities in the health system, so it means we’re not able to test people. We’re not getting people on to treatment. Treatment is prevention.

 

Principles of Family Law in Papua New Guinea: a reflective review

By Michelle Nayahamui Rooney on March 3, 2017

http://devpolicy.org/principles-family-law-papua-new-guinea-reflective-review-20170303/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=4d1188feb7-Devpolicy+News+March+10+2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-4d1188feb7-227683090

First published by the University of PNG Press in 1985 with a second edition published in 1994, this book remains important foundational reading for anyone interested in issues of social safety, and family and intimate partner violence in PNG. With new laws passed in recent years to address family violence (Family Protect Act 2013) and other family issues such as the rights of children (Lukautim Pikinini (Child) Act 2009 [amended in 2014]), this book also provides a baseline for understanding the historical and social context for the transformation of family law in PNG.

This is an important book that needs to be updated and complemented with further publications based on more recent developments in family law in PNG. This is important because of the persistence of gender inequality and violence against women, and the pace of social change occurring in PNG. Furthermore, given that new laws have been introduced, a new publication should emulate the approach of this book to present a nuanced discussion of the outcomes, unintended consequences and inconsistencies in new legislation. For example, two questions that arise include: How are recent laws like the Lukautim Pikinini (Child) Act and the Family Protection Act being implemented in the context of PNG? How will the pikinini courts (children’s courts) envisaged under the Lukautim Pikinini (Child) Act interface with the existing and prevalent village courts?

Another major positive development in PNG in recent years has been the establishment of services such as women’s refuge centres, case management centres and Family Sexual Violence Support Centres in police stations to support families and victims of violence. The experiences of these service providers are an important part of understanding how laws are implemented in PNG. For example, how do local customs determine the provision of services and the outcomes for families, children, and victims of violence? What are the unintended outcomes for children, women, and families? How do these all overlap or come into conflict with the Customs Recognition Act? Without an analysis of concrete case studies these questions will be difficult to answer.

Owen Jessep and John Luluaki. 1994. Principles of Family Law in Papua New Guinea (2nd ed.) Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Press.

Michelle Rooney is a Research Fellow at the Development Policy Centre.

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