Social Concerns Notes – March 2014
UN to analyse Human Rights, Humanitarian Law
Post-Courier, 28 February 2014
The United Nations in Papua New Guinea announced yesterday that there will be a mandated analysis on the international human rights and humanitarian law standards related to the right life issues in the country.
From Preliminary Observations on the official visit to Papua New Guinea by Mr. Christof Heyns, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, 3-14 March 2014 Released in Port Moresby, 14 March 2014 (For full 19pp report, see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14373&LangID=E)
8. I found during my visit that Papua New Guinea is faced with serious levels of violence, which often also has lethal consequences. In my statement I will mention the main patterns of killings I identified, as well as the obstacles in the law and order system and socio-cultural context that hamper effective prevention, justice and redress in such cases.
9. I do believe, however, that Papua New Guinea at the current moment has an historical opportunity to make significant strides in its protection of human rights, including the right to life. While the challenges should be recognized, the convergence of a number of factors point towards the present moment as a unique opportunity to take a new course, in some respects, and to consolidate some of the many positive elements that are already present.
33. The reality of the terror, pain and suffering and social disruption caused by sorcery and witchcraft is only fully understood when one is confronted with the family of victims and with the survivors who carry the scars of attacks. By its very nature, the identification of specific people as witches or sorcerers will be arbitrary and based on subjective whims, and according to many interviewed it is motivated by considerations such as jealousy; greed (e.g. wanting the property of the soon-to-be deceased); aimed against those who do not fully fit in (even at the level of not showing enough grief when someone has died) or getting rid of outsiders, the old and marginalized, often focusing on women. It is a vicious practice.
Conclusions: 2. A national campaign should be developed to combat witchcraft and sorcery accusation related violence. This campaign should be aimed at sending out a clear and concerted message that there is no room anymore for violence that is based on such allegations, and should amongst others involve the high-level representatives of the Government, the churches, the education system, the prosecutors and public solicitors, members of the village courts, and the media. The possibility of calling a convention of interested parties where this campaign is launched should be considered.
Catholic Church: Close Manus detention centre
Post Courier, 3 March 2014
THE Catholic Bishops Conference has appealed to the Australian government to close the Manus Island regional processing centre. The church’s peak leadership body said it was appalled to hear of the recent disturbance at the centre, resulting in death and injury and was concerned at the Australian government’s "rhetoric of righteous campaign" against people smuggling at the expense of PNG’s reputation.
"We were concerned that the rhetoric of a righteous campaign against people smugglers actually seemed to be more a question of political convenience. "We were offended that settlement in PNG was presented in such a negative light so as to act as a deterrent to asylum seekers," the church assembly said.
"We noted that ‘according to a report from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’, arrangements for the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre do not meet international protection standards, and the present situation on Manus is likely to lead to increased levels of psychosocial harm. "This unheeded warning now seems to be proven all too true," the church said in a statement. "And so we repeat again our respectful encouragement to Australia to find a more humane solution to people seeking asylum in their country. Asylum seekers are human beings who deserve respect and recognition of their dignity.
"Detaining people against their will in PNG, even if it ‘works’ as a deterrent, is not a just solution worthy of a great nation otherwise proud of its human rights record," the statement said. "It clearly places an intolerable strain on the capacity of PNG to manage, and might lead to even more deaths, injury and trauma. Close the centre and manage the problem in Australia."
The world’s best refugee camp?
By Ashlee Betteridge on February 21, 2014
Sometimes in times of despair, such as hearing of the horror that took place on Manus Island this week, it’s nice to look at how other countries in the world make efforts to try to treat refugees humanely. New York Times Magazine just released a fascinating feature titled ‘How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp‘. It documents the Turkish government’s efforts to provide orderly, humane and safe accommodation for the growing numbers of Syrians flooding over the border to seek refuge from the ongoing conflict in their country. There are some interesting takeaways from the story.
One is the pilot system being used in the camp for food distribution. Instead of sharing WFP handouts, the camp uses an electronic food card that refugees can use to make purchases in three supermarkets, run by different companies to prevent price gouging. (You can find more details on the food card system here [pdf]). The second is that even though the camps are good quality, the Syrians interviewed in the story still want to go home. It bucks the narrative about camps taking care of people “too well” so they don’t want to leave. The fear of creating long-term camps is an issue in Lebanon, which has opened its borders to more than one million refugees. There, the government tries to avoid building permanent structures in camps and only recently acquiesced to a trial of Ikea’s Refugee Housing Units. The third is the way in which the Turkish government seems to view the provision of decent camps as a form of public diplomacy. When asked by the journalist why Turkey had made such efforts to provide quality camps for the displaced Syrians, a Turkish official responded: “You have a refugee problem, what do you do?” “It’s a normal response”.
http://pngexposed.wordpress.com March 3, 2014
Peter O’Neill’s handling of the illegal SABL land grab shows he is impotent in the face of Malaysian logging company control of PNG politicians and officials.
Twenty-five years ago the Barnett Commission of Inquiry blew the whistle on widespread corruption and fraud in the forest industry in Papua New Guinea. Today, our politicians still remain under the control of foreign, mainly Malaysian, logging companies.
The 1989 Inquiry, headed by Australian judge Justice Barnett, famously described the logging companies as acting like robber barons: “It would be fair to say… they are now roaming the countryside with the self-assurance of robber barons; bribing politicians and leaders, creating social disharmony and ignoring laws in order to gain access to, rip out and export the last remnants of the province’s valuable timber.
Almost twenty-five years later, the recent 2013 SABL Commission of Inquiry into fraudulent agriculture leases has found nothing has changed: With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders… Our investigations reveal that over 50% of the so-called developers’ currently holding subleases on SABLs are connected in one way or another to Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Limited, which by far is the biggest logging operator in PNG’. The Special Agriculture and Business Leases are the latest mechanism used by the loggers to get access to valuable timber resources. They have been used to take control of over 5 million hectares of forest – more than 10% of Papua New Guinea’s total landmass.
The SABL Commission of Inquiry recommended 66 of 72 leases be revoked as they are illegal. But six months after receiving the Commissions reports the government of Peter O’Neill has done nothing to implement those recommendations. As a result million of dollars worth of illegally felled logs are leaving the country every week, mostly destined for China.
The National, 3 March 2014
THE Port Moresby General Hospital has a staggering 251 positions vacant – many are in its clinical nursing division. It is now on a recruitment drive seeking graduates and non-graduates who are passionate about care. The hospital’s human resources manager Rita Geno revealed this grim situation to more than 100 job seekers at a career fair seminar in Port Moresby last Friday. Geno was blunt, stating that staff shortage impeded efficient response time to clinical diagnosis and treatment. “The current workforce cannot meet the demand,” Geno admitted, adding the hospital had a staff patient ratio of 1:10 and an ageing workforce at 40%. She said the hospital was opened in 1957 to cater for residents in Port Moresby alone. It can cater for a maximum of 861 staff but only 610 positions are occupied. The hospital treats more than 400,000 patients from NCD, Central and referrals from other provinces in a year. It has 800 beds
The National, 4th March 2014
THE Government plans to introduce legislation that will see drug cultivators, traffickers and consumers face up to 50 years imprisonment, an official says. It also proposes to increase the sentence for home-brew producers and consumers to 25 years, according to National Narcotics Bureau education and awareness officer Lawrence Tau. He told people in Abau district, Central, that the abuse of illegal drugs and home-brew had contributed in a big way to criminal activities and social problems. He urged community leaders to work with youths in eliminating the problems. He said rape, thuggery, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and cult activities were related to drug and alcohol abuse. “Substance abuse creates nuisance in society thus peace, prosperity and progress in our communities and country are hindered,” he said.
Highlands Highway woes
Post Courier 27 February, 2014.
Highlands Highway Potholes needs to be patched and bushes along the main road need to be cleared for local’s walkway due to frequent road accidents. Concerned parent and local Wilson Kos from Walpi Tribe in Anglimp South Waghi, Jiwaka Province said that he has been witnessing seven road accidents at Kiam corner road where there is a big pothole and has requested the Anglimp South Waghi MP Komun Joe Koim to do something about it. “It is very dangerous for our children when walking half a meter near the main road when going to schools and back,” Mr Kos said. He said the pothole has been there for more than six years and no leaders have taken initiative to do something. “We have elected leaders to have big eyes for basic needs like this, not to pay more attention to big things, I am fed up of seeing accidents right before his village and have asked for the road to be sealed,” Magistrate Lus said.
24,000 TB cases in NCD
WWW.pngedge.com 8 March 2014
The National Capital District has the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the country, with more than 24,000 recorded as of December 2013. Poverty and overpopulation has been identified as the main factors behind the continuing increase of tuberculosis in Port Moresby. Last year saw 581 new cases recorded in health facilities with a cure rate of 51%. This means only 51% of those 581 patients diagnosed will be cured if they stay faithful to the six months TB dosage. Dr Gary Ou'u says the World Health Organisation's TB success rate stands at 85. "Defaulters are a big problem. The dose is very effective. Once a patient takes the medication, they feel better after a month and often don't complete the six months treatment," He says the Direct Observation Treatment shortcourse (DOTS) program was created to ensure relatives of those with TB remind them in taking their dose.
Minimum wage gets close to decision
Pngedge.com 8 March 2014
The Department of Labour and Industrial Relations principal executive officer of the Minimum Wages Board (MWB) secretariat Wala Iga announced on Friday that the current board will immediately conduct deliberations after receiving all remaining submissions from the government and private sector in two weeks’ time. This announcement comes in light of the concerns raised in the local media and via social networking sites on the lax attitude displayed by the Government and private sector in handing over their submission to the MWB. Mr Iga said the two objectives of Minimum Wages were to safeguard low skilled workers against exploitation and poverty and to share the proceeds of the country’s economic growth and in turn motivate workers to contribute to the economy by their labour. He said the decision of the Board is important because it cushions the impacts of inflation and secondly it is through this mechanism that the wages and other terms and conditions of employment for low income earners are improved. According to Iga, the last MWB was convened in 2008 and handed down a determination of a minimum wage rate at K2.29 per hour but it was to have been implemented in phases over a two year period with recommendations for review in the first and second years
Unemployment, a Time Bomb
Pngedge.com: 6 March 2014
LUIO| Acting National Youth Commissioner, Norit Luio, has called on the Government and stakeholders to look for ways to address the issue and reduce the unemployment rate in the country. Luio said that there were no more urgent tasks to do than to work out a strategy to defuse the ‘time bomb’ we are sitting on as most refer to our youths. “Like other developing nations, PNG is confronted by enormous challenges. Among the critical challenges we face are those affecting our youths and more in particular the increase in youth employment. Yet more challenging is our struggle in search of a way forward to effectively addressing it,” Luio said. He said the implementation of the National Government’s universal education policy would pave the way for the commission to achieve its goals.
The National, 7 March 2014
JUSTICE David Cannings made orders yesterday for official government inspection of the Manus detention centre and the living conditions of asylum seekers. Cannings made eight orders for Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary William Dihm to file and serve a supplementary affidavit on matters in relation to recent incident in at the detention centre. He ruled out an application by Opposition leader Belden Nama who had sought leave to intervene in the proceeding. Cannings said the current matter was a different proceeding and Namah should be an assisting party and not a hindrance. He gave direction for Public Solicitor Frazer Pitpit and his lawyers and officers to be afforded by relevant authorities to have reasonable access to the asylum seekers in Manus. “Access shall not be denied except for valid security reasons or with the leave of the court; and for the avoidance of doubt: this order is sufficient authority for the public solicitor and his lawyers and officers to be granted access to any transferee (any asylum seeker) and it is not necessary for the Chief Migration Officer or any other official to grant permission for such access.
Solomon Star 8 March 2014
CHURCHES must stand and speak for the rights of the voiceless in the community.
And they should speak in a united voice on the atrocities conducted by Indonesian security forces on the people of West Papua. Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae said the church had remained silent for too long and therefore played a part in the victimization of Papuans. “Here we have in our own backyard, in Melanesia, a people who are being oppressed because of their wish to discuss self-determination and they are being silenced by their colonizers,” Rev Pihaatae said. “The church must speak for the oppressed. It must be the voice of the voiceless to bring justice to those who suffer.” He was speaking at the launch of the single Rise Morning Star – Freedom for West Papua by Fijian artist Seru Serevi in Suva on Thursday. Reflecting on the Bible story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, Rev Pihaatae said while the West Papuan people continued to struggle, their hope for freedom was truly alive. He said that while the people of West Papua had no avenue to voice their frustrations, hurt and anger, it fell to others – including the church – to take up the cause.
The National, 12th March 2014
THE National Court in Kokopo has dismissed a wilful murder case against nine men from Pomio district after the State prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence against them. They were charged after the death of Mathias Tevamili on Dec 6, 2011, at Sampun village, in East Pomio. The court heard that they had accused Tevamili of killing one of their relatives through sorcery. They took him to Teimtop village and commanded him to bring back to life their dead relative. When he failed to do that, they allegedly assaulted him, causing his death. They denied the charge. The prosecution sought further adjournment because the principal witnesses could not attend court because they were held up in Pomio due to the bad weather. But the defence lawyer objected to further adjournments after three trial dates had to be vacated for the absence of witnesses. Justice Salatiel Lenalia said the nine men were presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court. Lenalia said since State Prosecutor Lukara Rangan had failed to provide evidence, the court had no other option but to exercise its discretional power to terminate the case. He ruled that the matter be dismissed for want of prosecution and the men be discharged.
The National, 12th March 2014
SCHOOLS are facing a major problem – high enrolment and not enough space, an official says. It is a legacy of the free education policy. Education head Moses Sariki during a presentation last week claimed that the current ratio of student-teacher exceeded the maximum stipulated under the education policy. He said at Aiome Anglican, Holy Spirit Memorial High, Transgogol and Good Sheperd Lutheran high schools, students in Grades 9 and 10 stacked up 40 to 50 per class. In secondary schools such as Raikos, Karkar, Tusbab, Malala and Brahman there was as many as 60 in some classes. “There is a major need for four new high schools to be built within the next three to four years. Overcrowding has become a major issue now in schools and with it comes the lack of quality learning when teachers are under duress,” Sariki said.
Disability a rights issue
The National, 12th March, 2014
PEOPLE should treat disability as a development and human rights issue rather than a medical one, the Brown Kapi Foundation says. The foundation and the Papua New Guinea Rehabilitation Centre have started an awareness drive to educate people about that. Chairman Brown Kapi recently visited the Cheshire disAbility Services in Port Moresby to donate two wheelchairs – a manual one and one powered by a rechargeable battery.
The National, 12th March, 2014
FAMILY and sexual violence is a medical and humanitarian emergency in the country, according to a United Nations official. The rate in Papua New Guinea is among the highest in the world, according to a recent UN Partners for Prevention study. The study revealed that the sexual experience of one in five women was rape. It noted that one third of men had been sexually abused during childhood. EU funds are being channelled through the European Commission’s Humanitarian and Civil Protection department to Médecins Sans Frontières which is providing comprehensive medical treatment and psychosocial care to the victims. The funds are meant to increase the services provision in the different locations where MSF is working, starting with Port Moresby, Tari and Maprik. “In addition, we want to raise the awareness among local institutions and partners of the urgent need to address this scourge,” Dhim said.
More midwives graduate in PNG as major training effort pays off
asopa.typepad.com 12 March
XAVIER MAYES | Medical Xpress
THE $10 million maternal and child health initiative in Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian government is beginning a new phase this year. While proving highly successful in raising the quality of midwifery education in PNG, it still faces many challenges in helping lower the high rates of maternal and child death. In a crowded Port Moresby hospital ward, a midwife attends to a young woman giving birth. As any caring professional would, she prays for no complications. However, troubled birth or not, the midwife knows she won't have time to stay until the end of the procedure. With only rudimentary supplies and equipment on hand, she will see over 20 mothers-to-be that day, many of them lined up in the corridor outside.
When Adjunct Professor Pat Brodie first visited PNG 15 years ago, she was shocked to say the least. "It was very confronting. Essential supplies such as water, gloves, electricity – as well as any degree of privacy – were all extremely deficient. It was the equivalent of many third-world situations." Returning in 2010 as an advisor for the World Health Organization, Brodie realised many of the same problems she encountered 15 years earlier had not changed.
"PNG is often compared to the rest of the world as only second to Afghanistan in terms of maternal health care and child mortality. It's on par with many African countries." Maternal health services in PNG continue to be hard to access. Nearly 90% of the population lives in rural or remote areas. According to a 2011 report by the United Nations Population Fund, half of all births in PNG are not attended by any skilled health personnel, and there's just one midwife for every 1,000 births. Poverty, illiteracy and a lack of women's autonomy compound the problem. The facts seem overwhelming, yet more midwives and higher quality midwifery education are a simple and very effective part of the solution. They are the focus of the UTS-led Maternal Child Health Initiative, closely partnered with PNG's National Department of Health and funded by the Australian Government.
The National, 14th March, 2014
AN AUSTRALIAN company, Transfield Services, has won a 20-month contract worth $1.22 billion (K2.89m) to provide security at the Manus refugee detention centre. Transfield Services is a multi-national company operating in 11 countries providing a range of services and will be expanding on its operations in Nauru. The appointment of the company follows recent violence at the Manus centre that claimed the life of a detainee, resulting in Australian and PNG authorities questioning G4S’s ability to keep order at the centre. G4S is to be investigated by the authorities in both countries over its role in the violence. Transfield will be subcontracting Australian-based security company Wilson Security as it already does in Nauru.
PNG Cabinet backs ID Project
The National, 14 March 2014
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Cabinet are fully supportive of the national identity project and want it rolled out in the country immediately. The National Executive Council last year approved the project. The project will address the lack of a “secured, simple, and trustworthy” method for citizen identification in the country. It will provide an identification card for those above 18 years. Koloma said the national database would be an invaluable tool for the Government. He said it would have a national data bank. Huawei said the project would also cater for an holistic approach in national registration of births, marriages and divorce and deaths. It said other benefits included secure banking and commerce, travel and security.
Statistics: Mental illness connected to drug abuse
Post Courier 19 March 2014
STATISTICS show an increase in the number of mentally retarded people affected by illicit drug abuse at in Port Moresby General Hospital and Laloki Psychiatric Hospital, says the National Narcotics Bureau (NNB) office. NNB’s coordinator of education and awareness division, Bobby Bone and officer Lawrence Tau said young people should be refrained from taking illicit drugs and home-brew as this would not help them but destroy their lives. "Port Moresby General Hospital’s ward six is where mentally affected patients are housed and it has only 16 beds," Mr Bone said. "But everyday numbers of new patients in that ward are increasing as a result of drug abuse, especially from excessive marijuana consumption, and now you will notice that more patients are sleeping on the floor." "Laloki has 200 beds designed to accommodate 200 patients. But we have seen that numbers of psychiatrically ill patients, especially the ones resulting from marijuana consumption is increasing. This is a very dangerous trend," Mr Bone said. The office anticipates that numbers of mental cases resulting from marijuana consumption in other urban centers and rural villages in PNG are also increasing as it is evident that illicit marijuana abuse has become one of the common social problems affecting the young generation today.
Digicel responds to data issue
PNG Edge.com 19 March 2014
Digicel PNG’s smart phone customers have been advised to update their application settings to avoid using credits without their knowledge. Chief Operating Officer Darren McLean says that many people don’t realise that all the apps they download may look idle but in fact they can update from time to time and consume a lot of data allowance, or drive out of bundle charges that cost 39 toea per megabyte. McLean also suggests that customers who don’t want this need to adjust their settings on their phones to not allow background data as well as automatic updates. Some applications on android devices as long as the app is being used, such as online games with some even automatically searching the internet for updated files to download.
Peace award to be named after slain student
Post Courier, 19th March 2014
A Divine Word University student who makes a significant contribution to “peace and order” in the community will be given an award named after Nigel Laki, the student who was murdered on the street of Madang’s Nabasa suburb last Friday night. DWU President Fr Jan Czuba announced the award during the funeral mass for the late student at the St Joseph Freinademetz Chapel yesterday (Wednesday). Fr Czuba said the Nigel Laki Award for peace and order is a small step towards liberating the streets and neighbourhoods of Madang and PNG from mindless crime perpetrated by a minority. The award is among measures the DWU is taking to assist in addressing crime and disorder in the tourist town since the killing of Nigel, who was a third year communication arts student.
Vote Buying in SI?
Solomon Star 19 March 2014
DESPITE advice from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) early this week warning the public to refrain from providing their voters’ ID cards to other people, reports have emerged over an alleged ID card buying system taking place by an intending candidate in Malaita.
It was claimed that the businessman based in Auki, Mr Zheng Ding Wheng has been buying of voters’ identification ID cards from West Kwara’ae constituents since the start of registration. One of the concerned voters Leonard Sasai alleged that the intending candidate was actually buying the cards. “Mr Zeng was actually buying the voters’ ID cards so that during the polling day, the voters will get their ballots cast in his box as well as to get the final payments afterwards. “Mr Zheng continues this week to pay ID cards from registered voters in West Kwara’ae for the sum of $50.00 per ID card.” Mr Sasai described the alleged action as a corrupt dealing. The man claimed that his father-in-law and son-in-law also sold their ID cards as well. “He (Mr Zheng) actually bought my father-in-law and the son’s ID card. But we accused the son about his action and he later gets back his ID card.” Mr Sasai said that the intending candidate was actually using the elderly and the venerable women to get their ID cards.
“So far more than 200 cards have been supplied to him after registration kicked off last week,” Mr Sasai further claimed.The concern voter warned intending candidates and current MP to stop bribing people’s right with money.
When the Solomon Star visited the businessman’s hardware shop opposite the Auki market, a lot of people have been going in and out of his shop with most of them just to sell their ID cards. The Solomon Star team caught up with few individuals who freshly sold their ID cards coming out right from the hardware shop. One woman said, “I don’t have any bus fare to get back home so when I heard about this rumour, I come here to sell my ID card for $50.00.” Another woman said: “We just sold our voter’s ID cards. He says he gives us $50 for our bus fare as he is going to keep it and will be returning it during polling day with $1,000.” A young man at his twenties who also sold his ID card said, “I have my card given for $50 and he promised to pay me $1000 when he returns it during the polling day.”
But when Mr Zheng was contacted, he denied the allegation saying he was only helping people who needs bus fare.
Rights watchdog to join asylum inquiries
Post Courier 21 March, 2014
THE National Court inquiry into the treatment of transferees on Manus has been told that the transferees are being held captive without any formal charges. Section 42 of the PNG Constitution clearly states that a person cannot be detained and locked up without being charged. Also yesterday, the court granted leave for Amnesty International to join as a party to the proceedings.
Public Solicitor Frazer Pitpit yesterday during cross examination repeatedly asked the transferees if they have been charged for illegally entering Australia, or when they were transferred to Manus.
All three transferees who appeared yesterday denied being charged with any offence, including their illegal entry into Australia by boat.
The National, 20th March, 2014
CRIME and illegal vending in Mt Hagen city have been significantly reduced since foot patrols started, provincial police commander Supt Martin Lakari said. The main targets by the patrols were places like bus stops, shopping centres and streets. A joint operation by the Mt Hagen city authority and police from all units have been engaged in big clean-up campaigns. The patrols mean police are seen while they walk around talking to the public and advising them. Lakari said petty crimes and illegal activities such pick pocketing, bag-snatching, mugging and selling of betel nuts and cigarettes on streets were the downfall of the city. “These gave the city a poor image.But these all have gone while my men are on the street,’’he said.
The National, 25th March 2014
THE Kundiawa General Hospital is offering special education to sick, deaf and mute children. The school which has been in operation for four years attracts children from Bougainville, New Ireland, West New Britain, East New Britain, Morobe, Madang and the seven highlands provinces. Hospital chief executive officer Mathew Kaluvia said school children admitted at the hospital continued their education while being treated there. “When we discharge them, they return to their respective schools and continue their education,” he said. He said teachers visited students who were confined to their beds and were unable to attend classes in the ward. Kaluvia said the school has four teachers who graduated from the teachers college. The head teacher is Elizabeth Kaupa. He said a deaf teacher has been recruited from Callan Service. He said the school had 45 students attending class, while 23 students who can’t walk, the teachers visited them in the ward. The number of students fluctuated depending on the number of sick children admitted at the hospital. Kaluvia said deaf and mute children living around Kundiawa town and from other provinces were catered for. He said the school had its own kitchen with its own cooks who provided lunch for the students. The school is supported by the Rotary Club of Queensland in Australia.
Court orders seizure of logs.
Solomon Star 20 March 2014
A TAIWANESE who admitted trying to export millions of dollar worth of endangered tubi logs in 2009 was fined $7,000 yesterday. Principal Magistrate Shepherd Lapo also ordered the seizure of the seven containers of tubi logs that Teng Cheng Liu was trying to illegally export. Liu has until Friday this week to pay up the fine. Failure would result in a seven-month jail term. Magistrate Lapo found that Liu had dishonestly filled out the Export Entry form of Custom. “Clearly the defendant has been doing this without complying with the instruction content from the declaration form and that he intended to export prohibited goods, evasion of prohibited on export goods and made false declaration.” “What appear to be the issue here is that all the logs that have been discovered in the seven containers were all round logs but when the defendant made declaration that the goods in the containers were sawn timber,”
Office to address beggars
The National, 20 March 2014
Too many children beg on the streets of Port Moresby, the director of the Office of Lukautim Pikinini Simon Yanis said. “Many children get lost in the city trying to fend for themselves by loitering around shopping centres, street sides, trying to find money,” Yanis said when presenting a paper during the National Disability policy review yesterday. “With PNG’s economy set to boom in the coming years, we are finding a lot of children running away from homes and living on the streets. “This issue needs to be addressed and solutions found before the problem escalates.”
‘Criminals in uniform’: Jiwaka police terror as Simbu villages raided
Asopa typepad.com 24 March14 (abridged) By Fr Christian Sieland
ON Saturday 8 March, we picked up eight women from the shabby cells of Minj police station in the central highlands province of Jiwaka. It was another case of police brutality. The women had been detained three days earlier together with 21 men during a raid conducted between Koronigle and Waingar in Simbu, along the Highlands Highway. They were randomly picked up and detained by Jiwaka police in Minj.
Most of those arrested were mourning the death of one of their local leaders who was assaulted at Molka Lodge in Minj and died some weeks later due to the injuries he had sustained.The slow response of the police in relation to the attack and death of that man and the escape of the main culprit led some of the frustrated relatives and mourners to attack some police vehicles and officers who were on the way back to Minj after a post mortem conducted on the victim in Goroka. It was a stupid act by some stupid men with terrible consequences for the whole village.
The next day police from Jiwaka drove in a long convoy of police vehicles towards Koronigle and Waingar and jumped out of their vehicles fully armed with guns, machetes and sticks. In their rage, they ran amok, shooting teargas, threatening people at gunpoint, stopping travelling cars at gunpoint, pointing guns at women and old people, beating up people at random, destroying food gardens, burning houses, killing pigs, looting stores, confiscating alcohol and arresting people at will. During this operation they might have arrested some of those responsible for the attack on the police vehicles but most of the people arrested were mourners. Some of them were from other parts of Simbu who happened to be at the hauskrai on that fateful day.
These people were innocent and had nothing to do with the attack on the police; they were just at that place at the wrong time. They received unimaginable treatment at the hands of the Jiwaka police. From a so-called disciplined force one would expect a more diplomatic, intelligent and peaceful way of confronting such an issue. But instead their rampage and destruction did not reflect any sign of discipline. They behaved more like chaotic hooligans and criminals in uniform.
I was shocked to tears when I heard the story of the women and saw the evidence of the treatment they received at the hands of the male and female officers in the Minj cells. Two of the women arrested were still breast feeding. They had to fill up bottles with their milk to be taken to their babies back home. Another woman was three months pregnant. She showed me a black spot from a police boot at her back. All the women had cuts and bruises all over their faces and bodies. What really shocked me was to see cigarette burns on the arms and faces of the women. They were beaten up several times inside the prison and even outside in front of crowds, sprayed with cold water and told to sing ‘This is the day’ or the National Anthem. Doctors and medical treatment to treat the wounds were not allowed by the police.
The National, 25th March, 2014
STUDENTS attending Caritas Technical Secondary School will soon enjoy the benefits of boarding life - courtesy of the Australian Aid Incentive Fund. A new 100 bed dormitory was part of the K4.9 million building project opened by the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott last Friday. The all-girls church-run school has always been a day school since its establishment in 1995. There are currently 1,004 students. Abbott commended the Caritas Sisters for valuing the importance of educating women in PNG. “Education of young women is the most important thing, our work is contributing to your work to make it fruitful,” Abbott said. Minister for Finance James Marape, who accompanied Abbott to Caritas, said churches delivered services to places where the Government could not. He said the churches were the backbone of high quality education services and acknowledged Caritas for its work.
The National, 28th March 2014
A CHURCH leader is condemning the violent treatment of people accused of sorcery and witchcraft. Pastor Jack Urame, the director of the Melanesian Institute, in Eastern Highlands, said it had become so common in the country and was much more than a spiritual issue. He was speaking at Church Partnership Programme forum in Port Moresby. “The church realises that problems related to sorcery and witchcraft practices are both spiritual and social issue,” he said. “Personal health, deaths and other misfortunes that have logical explanations are commonly used as excuses to take innocent lives. “This issue is widespread and closely connected to our belief system. “The churches role is to bring hope, healing and promote peace, social justice and preach against any form of violence that can dehumanise people.” He said the churches had not done enough in this area. He urged the churches to take pro-active measures in reducing fear, eliminate these traditional beliefs which often lead to witchcraft and sorcery-related violence. “Our divided approach towards sorcery and witchcraft is the problem,” he said. “Churches have to work together to deal with violence related to sorcery and witchcraft.” He encouraged the churches to change the mindset of people through education and Christian teachings. “This may take time but the churches have a prophetic role to do,” he said.
The background & implications of that Oil Search loan deal
Asopa.typepad.com 29 March 2014
PAUL BARKER | Business Advantage PNG
THE proposed Sovereign Wealth Fund(SWF) is somewhat jokingly referred to by some as the Sovereign Wealth Vacuum, as we await the government to release its revised legislation setting up the fund. The original idea was to put income from resource projects into the fund (held largely in safe offshore securities) and use those investments to stabilise the currency and provide some core development expenditure, whilst providing confidence for investors etc in PNG’s economic management. But the government’s plan to borrow K1.7 billion for a stake in Oil Search, and by extension invest in PNG’s potential second LNG project, means it is effectively pre-borrowing from the fund. There are invariably some risks associated with a sovereign fund, including those associated with foreign exchange, investments and also the temptation a pot of money provides. But, in borrowing, the government is taking on the extra burden of interest payments too.
[We try to find a balance between good news and not-so-good news in these notes. If anyone can respond with good news or a solution to some of the probems raised, then send me a message and I may include it in next month’s issue.] Philip Gibbs SVD (Gibbs199@gmail.com)