Govt team exposes 168 foreign-owned businesses in NCD
A GOVERNMENT team has exposed 168 foreign-owned businesses in Port Moresby reserved for locals. Immigration, Border and Security Minister Petrus Thomas said some were even setting up trade stores in residential areas in the suburbs, settlements and villages. “They register to do business in commercial areas. But they end up doing business in residential areas,” he said. “They also operate filthy and unhygienic eateries, do not bank their takings, don’t accept worn-out or slightly damaged kina notes.” Thomas said some were paying local staff below the K3.50 minimum wage rate, did not pay superannuation, married local women as a front to start their business before removing them without notice.
“We are not discouraging foreigners to come and do business here. But they must follow the laws of PNG and not do business illegally. We will not allow that to happen in PNG,” Thomas said.
Parkop wants committee to do more to end violence
National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop is far from happy that of the 414 reported gender-based violence cases since April last year, only two perpetrators have been convicted. Reacting to statistics of the National Capital District Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee Secretariat yesterday, Parkop said: “From the statistics that you have given me, only two perpetrators where convicted, why are the others getting away?”
Parkop noted that most of the perpetrators were males and urged the secretariat to look into putting an end to the violence instead of providing services year in year out. According to the statistics of active cases, two perpetrators were referred to support services for counselling, 22 survivors received interim protection orders, six survivors received permanent protection order, 21 survivors withdrew their cases and six cases were pending.
GBV Rate Increasing
November 1, 2017. Post Courier
October is internationally selected to advocate against domestic violence. It ended on Wednesday and the driving force behind the advocacy agenda, Family Sexual Violence Action Committee, which is made up of partners, received more reported cases of gender-based violence in the month alone. This is despite more advocacy reaching people.
national coordinator for FSVAC, Marcia Kalinoe, said even when more advocacies were being done at any other time apart from that month, occurrences of violence are increasing.
“It is definitely scary and frightening. We have a lot of issues that are coming out. We are seeing family violence, sorcery-related violence and human trafficking,” she said.
Evidence from research shows that two out of three women in PNG are victims of violence. This means that more than 80 percent of women in PNG experience various forms of violence such as sexual (rape, sexual harassment, incest etc) physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, coercive control, culture or religious violence. Research also shows that 67 percent of PNG women suffer from domestic violence alone.
Those that need help can call: Counseling hotline: 7150 8000 or 24 hour police helpline: 3244 331/ 3244329.
Media challenges as Papua New Guinea fights gendered and sorcery related violence.
Another week of violence against women in PNG
It was a shocking week, even in what seems to be the ‘norm’ of gendered violence in PNG. Norms are so entrenched that without thinking many people become silenced, largely because of the despair that it so difficult to change anything. On October 14, a prominent journalist, the late Rosalyn Albaniel Evara, passed away in Port Moresby. At her funeral last week allegations emerged that she had been subjected to domestic violence. Simultaneously unfolding was another harrowing incident of sorcery related violence in a settlement in PNG’s other major urban centre, Lae in Morobe Province. One woman narrowly escaped death when the police intervened while another woman was found dead the following morning in what police believe might be a related incident. All three incidents, along with other stories depicting the kinds of stress that the police in PNG face, can be seen in the first 15 minutes of this report.
Why is this week any different? This week marks a pivotal moment in media coverage of gender violence in Papua New Guinea. It is a point when the stark realities facing PNG journalists were foregrounded, leading many in the industry to reflect critically on the ethics of the media in reporting gender based violence. But importantly, the fact this happened at the same moment that the sorcery related violence in Lae occurred also opens up other questions about the role of the media and the powers we can unintentionally or intentionally exercise in our individual and collective silences.
The government of PNG and its development partners have formulated the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender Based Violence and the Sorcery National Action Plan (See here, here, and here). In view of the challenges faced by journalist consideration must be given to allocating some funding to the media industry to support timely, accurate and independent reporting on these issues in ways that also support journalists.
(See the url above for the full article.)
Money shortage keeps health centres closed
Two new health facilities worth more than K1 million each have been completed in Mt Hagen, however, they may not be opened because there is no funding has been made for drugs and other equipment. The two new health posts, funded by Australia and Western Highlands Health Auhority (WHPHA), are at Wagbel and Ogelbeng outside Mt Hagen.
Keys to the two facilities were handed over on Oct 10 by contractor Steward Construction.
The WHPHA director for public health, Benson Safi, said the authority did not have enough money to buy equipment and drugs and that was likely to cause a delay in the opening of these facilities. Funding was on a kina-for-kina basis with every kina spent by WHPHA equally matched by Australia.
National Court Reports Backlog of Cases.
Post Courier November 6, 2017
The national court system is faced with a backlog of cases number in the thousands that are yet to be disposed of, Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said. Sir Salamo said 13,000 cases out of the 33, 000 were registered in the civil court alone, apart from the criminal court cases, that still needs to be disposed, thus adding to the workload of the judges. He said one way of expediting these workloads, is to address some of these cases by formal mediation under the alternative despite resolution (ADR) program of the National court that came about following the amendment to the National Court Act in 2008. “I’m hoping that one day we should be able to depose that kind of figure by mediation so we reduce the figure to probably five or six thousand pending in the year,” he said. The Chief Justice made these comments recently when welcoming 17 provisionally certified mediators and seven fully certified mediators that bring the number of internationally accredited PNG mediators to 134 since the start of training for this program in 2010 by the National Court.
“Another way to acknowledge this is in seeking the ARD leadership to look at how we can collaborate to add value to the current diploma program that has been developed in conjunction with the Divine Word University of Madang where our officers in the Judiciary and the Justice Department are currently required to undertake training,” Mr Steven said.
Police Turn Back Locals trying to feed refugees.
November 7, 2017
Not much has transpired since last week at the Manus regional processing centre after asylum seekers refused the news of shutting down and relocation. The situation remains quiet. Most refugees and asylum seekers are still at the centre at Manus regional processing centre and do not want to move to their new locations, despite water and power being disconnected as well as no food supply to them. However, the local Manus people are now bringing food to the refugees and asylum seekers at the centre by boat. Police on Manus have intercepted locals using boats to transport food to the refugees at the centre. They were strongly warned not to do so again and released. The commanding officer of the PNG Defence Force Naval Base at Lombrum has issued directives that the naval base was restricted and out of bound for civilians. Police and military police are enforcing the commanding officer directives to deal with unnecessary people coming into the base to feed the refugees at the centre.
The major and the father seek salvation for the refugees of Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
Two Manusian men – Catholic priest Father Clement Taulam and retired army major Michael Kuweh – are defying the PNG and Australian governments in calling for assistance for the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus, and for a peaceable solution to the standoff inside the condemned Australian-run detention centre. Speaking at his Papitalai parish church on Los Negros Island, across a small bay from the detention centre, Taulam said the enforced shutdown of the centre – in which 380 men remain – had left people vulnerable and suffering. Over years of pastoral care, he has built up friendships with many of those in the centre, he told the Guardian and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
“Now when they say they have no food, no water, no lights, they are deprived physically but they are saying too, that the physical is also spiritual for them. They are deprived of faith. They are suffering.”
“Australia seems to be saying, ‘Papua New Guinea, this is your responsibility’. And Papua New Guinea is saying to Australia, ‘Do your work, clean up your mess.’ And while this is going on, these people are suffering.”
[See url above for the full article]
Victims of violence need more support
MEDICAL and psychological support for women and children victims of violence are still lacking in many communities, a report says. It said the legal and policy framework, however, had improved over the years. Independent Formative Evaluation of Family Support Centres in Papua New Guinea June 2016 report said many women and children lacked access to adequate intervention services for a healthy, enabling recovery from the emotional and psychological trauma of violence. “Many more children are made vulnerable through the endemic rates of violence perpetrated against women,” the report said. “Access to justice for children and women is limited, traditional systems of compensation are often used as a form of conflict resolution.” The report said that in an effort to provide comprehensive medical, legal aid and psychosocial support for survivors of violence, the government through the Department of Health and with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) support established Family Support Centres (FSC) in 2004. The primary purpose of the FSC was to respond to the high rates of abuse and violence experienced by women and children by providing a comprehensive services medical, psychosocial and legal support. FSC also aims to strengthen community capacity to prevent and respond to violence against women and children through community advocacy.
Measures Needed to Address Sorcery
Post Courier November 9, 2017
Given recent media attention on sorcery related killings, Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Steven Davies, has acknowledged that the absence of a comprehensive judicial response to the threat of sorcery may promote further violence against alleged sorcerers.
Mr Davies also asserted that Parliament’s reforms on sorcery-related killings were in response to a measurable, physical threat of violence against alleged sorcerers.
“Everyone needs to appreciate that the Constitution guarantees each and every citizen the protection of law. That is outlined in section 37.10 of the Constitution. It matters not where we stand in terms of our beliefs or philosophies, but once a person has committed a crime then that person must be processed through the processes of the law,” he said.
“Parliament has passed these amendments to emphasise the point that taking someone’s life or punishing them for alleged sorcery is not right. In due course, hopefully we can come to a point where we can legislate. What is clear and evident are the victims; and the fact that if we do not stop it we are going to allow a situation where, by default, we will accept that killing of persons accused of sorcery as the right thing to do.”
Research into the causes of domestic violence is critical
09 November 2017
KUNDIAWA – Domestic violence is again in the headlines of Papua New Guinea’s media following the death of journalist Rosalyn Evara last month. At the time of her unexpected death, Rosalyn was business editor of the Post Courier newspaper. Her death was alleged to be a result of domestic violence, but Port Moresby General Hospital’s chief pathologist Dr Seth Fose, who carried out the autopsy, stated that embalming and decomposition had undermined any reliable findings as to cause. Earlier, at Rosalyn’s funeral, a family member had made public graphic photos of the harm done to her body.
The first case of gender-based violence that came to prominence was the brutal murder of 20-year old Kepari Leniata in Mt Hagen in 2013. Keniata had been accused of sorcery and was burned to death on a pile of tyres before a crowd of onlookers.
The PNG government then passed the Family Protection Bill in the same year, criminalising domestic and gender-based violence and enabling perpetrators to be arrested and prosecuted. The outcome, however, has been disturbing. Reports reveal a very low number of arrests and prosecutions related to gender-based violence. Most cases are not reported by victims or their relatives. Why?
The fundamental question to start with is why female victims and their relatives are reluctant to report violent acts to the authorities for arrest and prosecution? Why the silence on the part of victims?
Hospital needs 350 bags of blood weekly: Nurse
PORT Moresby General Hospital needs about 350 bags of blood a week, says the hospital’s blood bank manager Sr Damaris Penias. “We need a lot of blood in the hospital, and those who need blood most are those who have been involved in accidents,” she said. “They come to the emergency ward – those are trauma cases from all types of injuries like after a car accident or knife wounds. “We have pregnant women who need blood, children with chronic illnesses. We make sure there is blood reserved for these children.
“Blood is required for patients undergoing surgery.” Penias said people who donated blood benefitted from having free health tests such as blood sugar, haemoglobin count, blood pressure and become aware of their blood type. “We know that this blood is life so by donating a bag of blood, you are not saving just one life. If your blood is separated into three components like the plasma, red cells and platelets, you know that your one bag of blood is able to save up to three lives,” she said. “Port Moresby General Hospital is one of the biggest hospitals in the country and as a referral hospital, we receive patients from all over the country, and so the demand for blood has increased over the years. “We appeal to the public to donate blood so that we are able to maintain our supply .”
A review of 20 unresolved national issues
Report Title: Lest We Forget A review of 20 unresolved issues of national concern 2007 – 2017
This report is a systemic review of 20 selected corruption and poor governance cases in Papua New Guinea over a 10-year period (2007-2017). It is mainly based on publicly-available information including newspaper articles, online reports, and telephone interviews and email correspondence with individuals familiar with the issues.
TI PNG 2017 Election report
Church Steps in to Provide Counselling
Post Courier, November 17, 2017
The Catholic Church in Lorengau, Manus is trying its best to counsel asylum at the Regional Processing Centre despite their religious backgrounds. Pastoral workers, Catholic nuns and the parish priest of Lorengau parish are involved, says General-secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference Father Victor Roche. He described the situation as “not satisfactory” and disturbing. “They are under physical and mental strain so we have to find human solutions immediately. “Whether they are Muslims, Christians and Catholics, the Catholic Church is able to help them out,” Fr Roche said.
Papua New Guinean Police Evict Asylum-Seekers From Australian-Run Camp, UNHCR Decries Force Used
Nov. 23, 2017, at 6:40 p.m.
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Papua New Guinean police cleared the remaining asylum-seekers from a shuttered Australian-run detention complex on Friday, ending a three-week protest which started with some 600 people surviving on rain water and smuggled food and supplies. Australia closed the Manus Island detention centre on Oct. 31, after it was declared illegal by a Papua New Guinea court, but the asylum seekers refused to leave to transit centres saying they feared for their safety. Despite the unsanitary conditions and lack of adequate food and fresh water, about 300 remained when Papua New Guinea police started removing people on Thursday and Friday. “The refugees are leaving the prison camp,” Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani told Reuters in a text message on Friday. “We did our best to send out our voice but the government does not care.”
In Geneva, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR denounced the use of force by Papua New Guinean police to remove the refugees and asylum seekers and called for Australia to ensure their protection. “The beating of refugees and asylum-seekers by uniformed officers with metal poles, shown by footage released today, is both shocking and inexcusable,” UNHCR said in a statement.
The elephant in the room: addressing corruption in PNG
By Eric Kwa on Nov 17, 2017 06:00 am
There is a general consensus that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is in a deep financial crisis. The country is in desperate need of help from both within and outside PNG. The political and bureaucratic leadership is working hard to sustain the country under this financial climate.
The Government has reached out to the international community for financial assistance. There are some positive responses, which is encouraging for the country. However, this is a temporary measure and not sustainable. The real challenge is dealing with the elephant in the room – corruption – which permeates all aspects of PNG society. Unless PNG tackles this problem head on, any external or internal interventions to financially rescue the country will be futile.
The new Government has acknowledged that improving governance is crucial to the future of PNG. The Government is now embarking on several initiatives to improve governance systems to restore confidence in the government and its systems and processes. The Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) has been party to many of these initiatives and it is in this context that I would like to share with you these proposals.
If PNG is to improve governance and encourage investment in the private sector, and strengthen its bureaucracy to deliver basic and other services to the people, the new Government must first of all combat corruption as its number one priority. Corruption is a major problem for PNG. In 2016, it ranked 136 on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, the same ranking as Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar and Nigeria. As one of the most corrupt countries in the world, PNG has a huge task ahead to improve this image. PNG signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 22 December 2004 and ratified it on 16 July 2007.
Children victimised in sorcery-related violence
The recent horrific torture of a 7-year-old girl in the Highlands recently, highlights the sad truth that children can be the victims of sorcery accusation related violence. Unhappily this case is not the first time a child has been tortured in this way, but it is to be hoped that it will be the last. One of the worst aspects of making an accusation of sorcery against someone is that it is often a label attached to that person for their life. “This is a lifetime thing” that is frequently the reflection of victims of sorcery accusations. Tragically, it sometimes also follows into the next generation. Children of those accused also live with the burden of the label of “sanguma” for their whole lives. In some cases, this ends up in their torture, like in the case where the girl’s mother, Leniata Kepari, was the very woman whose death in 2013 following accusations of sorcery provoked such widespread public outrage. Disappointingly, four years later there still has not been any prosecution of the perpetrators of those who burnt her to death. In other cases labelling children as “sanguma” results in them being avoided by others at school, or called names or otherwise socially isolated.
Children are also victims of sorcery accusation related violence in other ways. They may be forced to leave their home if a member of their family is accused or in some cases abandoned by their parents following accusation. It is time to say “enough now” and end sorcery accusation related violence, which is spreading its poison into the lives of those we should most nurture and protect. The government should fully fund the Sorcery National Action Plan that specifically recognizes the impact of sorcery accusation related violence on children and includes measures to care for and protect them.
Village birth attendants hailed as death rate drops
village birth attendants (VBA) in Eastern Highlands have saved many mothers and babies, provincial health authority (PHA) chief executive officer Dr Joseph Apa says. “The infant-to-maternal mortality rate in the province has dropped because of the efforts of VBAs in the eight districts of Eastern Highlands,” he said. Apa commended local non-governmental organisation “Touching the Untouchables (TTU)” for providing basic training to VBAs who are helping village mothers and midwives to deliver babies in inaccessible rural areas.
“I am grateful to VBAs who have worked hard over the years as volunteers to assist the local village mothers in labour for successful deliveries of babies,” Apa said.
Students highlight pros, cons of phones
STUDENTS from around the country taking part in the National Children’s Forum have come up with four negative and three positive effects of mobile phones. They listed as negative effects:
- Cyberbullying – arguments with Facebook friends that lead to fights and other problems;
- misleading students astray – students get to follow the wrong people or join the wrong group on social media;
- not enough family time – students turn to their phones and other social apps when their parents don’t have time for their children;
- Negative effect on students’ attitude and behaviour towards school work – with peer pressure, students verbally abuse teachers and colleagues and sometimes come late to school.
The positive effects are:
- Makes school work easier – accessing the internet on mobile phones, students can do searches and access information to do assignments and complete their projects;
- communicating with friends, colleagues, loved ones – students get to call their parents to advise on their whereabouts or talk to their friends who may have had a good impact on them; and,
- With the use of global positioning systems, parents or authorities can track down any criminal activity students might be involved in at a particular place and time.
Care’s Domestic Violence Leave Sends a Message In PNG
Post Courier November 23, 2017
CARE International in PNG has strengthened its stand against domestic violence by introducing a range of measures aimed at supporting staff who experience violence in the home. The measures include a new category of Domestic Violence Leave that allows for nine days paid leave annually for staff who experience domestic violence. It is believed that CARE is one of the first employers in the country to introduce paid Domestic Violence Leave. The leave is discretionary and will be given on the understanding that the survivor of violence seeks some form of assistance, whether that is talking to someone, seeking care, legal advice or other measures that the person feels is appropriate for them. The leave is a recognition that violence in the home has an impact in the workplace, at school and in all areas of a person’s life.
Time to declare war on sanguma
MT HAGEN police on Saturday saved a woman from being tortured and burned alive on accusations of sanguma (sorcery) at Ban.
Last Wednesday night, Enga police saved three women from being burnt alive, also on allegations of sanguma.
This is a frightening situation for women in Papua New Guinea and it is becoming too common in a country where we like to call ourselves Christian.
Most cases go unreported.
The sanguma story is believable because there is no loud and clear authoritative voice saying otherwise.
The churches are silent.
The government is silent.
The police stand around and say, “OK, just torture her a little bit but don’t kill her”.
If no one in a position of authority and influence is standing up to call this “evil”, who will?
We must take a stand.
It takes a person with courage to speak the truth and blast through the deceit and lies.
There is no positive future for this country if we continue to believe in this sanguma story and accuse, torture and murder our innocent men and women.
Stop repeating this fake story.
Stop acting on it.
Stop believing it.
We should challenge our church and government leaders to speak up.
We should be publishing it so the whole country knows what each church is saying, what each minister and MP is saying.
What is needed is education.
There should be public health education.
Mandatory post-mortems should be carried out on any person said to have died because of sanguma to determine the real cause of death.
There should be legal repercussions for any health worker at any level who blames sik bilong ples, and likewise for anyone who attempts to use pasin bilong ples to determine a cause of death.
There is no place in our modern society for those who interpret dreams, consult a glasman, wave around a bamboo pole, ask the dead body all kinds of questions in the hope that it will raise a finger to give the answer.
The law about compensation should be changed so that death is not a business where people try to extort pik mani from each other and then fight about it.
It’s a form of child abuse to tell a child that the sanguma story is true.
It should be illegal to do that.
We need to raise the bar in terms of what we expect of our young people in PNG, in terms of honesty, courage, taking a stand, doing research, etc, and celebrating those who attain those standards as heroes of the nation.
The ‘men and women of honour’ awards are a great start and we need more of them.
We could create viral forms of communication targeted at children, giving good messages and work to disrupt the sanguma story.
There must be actual negative consequences for these crimes against the State.
Yes, crimes against the State.
Not only are they destroying the life of an innocent citizen – a mother, a daughter – but they are causing irreparable harm to the reputation of the nation, as well as solidifying the sanguma story as true for another generation of young children to believe.
Every time this happens, Papua New Guinea takes a step backwards.
It should be mandatory for communities to report to police any such incident and the people involved should be questioned and a list of suspects compiled.
No one should know who had cooperated or failed to cooperate with the investigation, thus no whistle-blowers could be targeted by the community.
That’s just one idea. We have to have more and more ideas to find something that works.
This cannot just go on like this. We must rise up, get organised and be counted.
It should be a nationwide campaign, well-funded and led.
People who want to torture others must realise that they are a minority and we, the majority, stand against them.
They need to know that they are shaming their own nation when they behave this way.
It should be illegal to tell anyone that sanguma is real in any sense that can be used to accuse another human being of being a sanguma.
That is not what the Bible teaches us, and it should not be who we are.
So-called pastors (actually they are glasman) who are making money from poor, naive Christians by telling them that sanguma is real should be investigated.
But even more than that, the real pastors and people of faith should be getting off their
backside and proclaiming and living the power and love of God, taking a stand against violence, helping those who are hurting, seeking restoration through truth-telling.
There is so much more we can do to get rid of this evil.
Let’s end violence related to sorcery
IN recent days, there have been a number of calls for the re-enactment of the Sorcery Act to deal with the problem of violence against those accused of sorcery and witchcraft.
However, when the Sorcery Act was in force, between 1971 and 2013, it was very rarely used to deal with concerns about sorcery.
Re-enacting the Sorcery Act is not likely to bring about any real change.
The village courts retain their powers to deal with a range of sorcery-related matters, such as people pretending to practice sorcery, and paying or offering to pay a person to perform acts of sorcery.
They have the ability to issue preventative orders that can stop accusations which may lead to violence.
Research directly related to supporting the Sorcery National Action Plan (SNAP) has discovered much better ways of dealing with the problem related to sorcery accusation violence, according to Associate Professor Miranda Forsyth who is with Australian National University.
First, accusations of sorcery are often made by blood relatives of those who are being accused, and often in the context of ongoing disputes about land or jealousy.
This means that communications within families need to be improved, and that mechanisms to mediate inter-family differences need to be strengthened.
Second, accusations of sorcery are often triggered by a death or sickness.
People who are experiencing grief are often not able to think straight and they may seek comfort from blaming others.
Communities need to be prepared for such accusations when there is a death and develop pathways to deal with grief in ways that do not lead to violence.
This may involve comforting the grieving family members while making strong statements against those who seek to blame sorcery.
Third, subjecting people to sorcery accusation related violence does not in fact resolve fears and concerns about sorcery within the community.
Instead it creates further victims and cycles of payback and misery.
Finally, there is a regular failure to bring the perpetrators of sorcery accusation related violence to justice through the state criminal justice system.
The laws to do this are all in place already.
These are crimes of willful murder, grievous bodily harm and assault – it is no defence to any of these crimes that the victim is accused of sorcery.
We also hear of people being tortured to get them to ‘confess’ to having committed sorcery.
Torturing a person is both a crime and not a reliable way of obtaining evidence.
It stands to sense that someone will say whatever they think their torturer wants them to say in order to get them to stop burning or cutting them.
We do not need another Sorcery Act. The laws are there.
Applying those laws and arresting and charging those who torture, burn and kill is the only realistic way towards eliminating this pervasive form of violence.
The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council, as a core committee to the SNAP, strongly condemns any acts of violence that are committed against persons as a result of sorcery accusations.
Individuals must not take law into their own hands and must play a part in safeguarding lives of all citizens.
That means everyone including the media has a social obligation not to incite fear and violence related to sorcery.