Social Concerns Notes – November 2013
Youths arrested for stopping logging on conservation area
Post Courier 22 November 2013
Twelve youths from Bairaman in the Ralopal Concession area under the Sigete/Mukus Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) Project Site in East New Britain have been arrested and charged for allegedly threatening logging company workers. Police in Kokopo said the men were arrested and charged for threatening workers at a conservation land area in Pomio. The men had stopped the company from logging their conservation area and typical of village boys, they were carrying their bush knives during that time but did not harm anyone. According to village leader Jacob Samo, an open forum was held at the Palmalmal District Office to discuss the demarcation of a conservation area within the Ralopal and Pomata Concession areas. The meeting was attended by district and lands officers. The landowners at the meeting asked for another forum to be held at the village level to further discuss the issue and settle outstanding land disputes over the said land. However, Mr Samo alleged that before the village forum was conducted, the company entered the conservation area and the group of young men heard about it and went to check if the company was carrying out a survey only to find they had started logging operations at the conservation area. He said the landowners had formed ILGs and had come up with different land use plans in the conservation site which included sites for gardening, production/sawmill and conservation.
Temotu police ordered to Vanikoro to bring back loggers
Solomon Star, 29 October, 2013
A team comprising of the Temotu provincial police, the provincial government and forestry officers left Lata yesterday for Vanikoro in an attempt to get the loggers out of Vanikoro.
The action came following threats by the landowning groups to damage all the logging machineries owned by Malaysian logging company Jaya Berjaya which have landed in Vanikoro to kick off logging operations there. Speaking to this paper from Lata yesterday, premier Beu said, “Since we haven’t yet received any directives from the Attorney General’s office yet, and Vanikoro locals are threatening to burn all logging machineries, I have given directive for the police and government officials to travel over there and bring back the Malaysian loggers to Lata. “My fear is that their presence and actions will continue to provoke local landowning tribes to cause dispute between each other. “My office is well aware that the machineries are now on the ground and lots of damages have been done to the landing site, especially the marine eco-system and the mangrove areas”. Premier Beu cannot hold his furious and further described the Malaysian as being deaf. “I’m really disappointed with these Malaysians. They really are deaf, as if they have no ears to listen to the laws of this country that they have violated. “They are really stubborn! “They must be taken back here (Lata) so that we can settle the issue and have them sent back to Honiara and face the full force of justice for the defying our orders.” A week ago, unlicensed Malaysian logging company Jaya Berjaya company landed in Lata, Temotu province with a barge loaded with logging machineries. It was detained there and was turned back to Honiara. Instead of coming back to Honiara the loggers further defied the order and went over to Vanikoro, their proposed logging site.
Cop: Do not lure girls
The National, October 30th, 2013
POLICE have warned guest houses, lodges and clubs in Mt Hagen that lure females as “comfort girls” for their clients to stop the practice. Provincial police commander Supt Martin Lakari said some of the owners had been luring young girls and divorced women into their premises for illicit activities. He said such activities would boost the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. Lakari said the females were mostly employed and allowed to stay around the premises to attract clients. He said using these “comfort girls” to attract customers was wrong and was one way of spreading HIV/AIDS. Police officers have been instructed to keep a lookout on these small guest houses, lodges and clubs during the busy festive season. “If we see girls doing nothing inside, we will take the owners to the station for questioning,” he said. Lakari said these business premises were being turned into brothels where men could easily get rooms, buy alcohol and have sex with the “comfort girls”. He warned the women to avoid being used as “comfort girls” and return to their families. “If police officers see the same old faces hanging around, we will arrest and charge them with loitering,” he said.
Rise in sorcery offences concern police
The National, October 30th, 2013
POLICE have charged a man in Northern with sorcery, saying the offence is on the rise in the province. Amos Bidana, 60, of Gevoiya village, in the Afore local level government, was charged with one count of sorcery following the death of a man on Sept 21. His relatives had lodged a complaint with police. Provincial police commander, Chief Insp Jacob Singura said police had sufficient evidence to charge him. “He will appear for mention in court this week,” Singura said. “Sorcery-related deaths have increased in the province and I appeal to people to respect one another.” Singura said the Afore LLG and Tamata LLG, in Sohe district, had a high number of sorcery-related deaths. “My police officers and I will go in person to Tamata LLG and do awareness on sorcery and general law and order problems,” Singura said. He said people should be educated about changes in the law and penalties.
35,000 living with HIV
The National, October 30th, 2013
PNG has more than 35,000 HIV-AIDS cases of which half are aged between 15 and 19 years, National Care and Support Deputy Director Dr Moale Kariko says. Moale was speaking at the Central provincial administration meeting with the National AIDS Council Secretariat on Monday. He said there was a need for an increase in political, community and youth engagement in the HIV/AIDS response. He said: “Politicians and community leaders have the mandate and public trust to act in the interest of humanity in communities. “Leaders bear a special responsibility as role models who will encourage others into action. “HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects children and young people as we see from the infection rates, killing their parents and damaging economic and development prospects. “The HIV/AIDS epidemic has worsened poverty, led to human rights abuses, threatens development gains and weakens national security and political stability. “We have seen from other countries the actions of politicians and leaders have had a positive impact on HIV/AIDS epidemic. We can do this by using facts and data to convince our communities, especially our young population that HIV is real, it’s present and is a danger to us.
The two dailies are owned by foreign interest, foreign corporate interest to be specific. Papua New Guinea does not own a daily, one that is at least controlled by a Papua New Guinean, one that reports issues of interest to Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guineans. What is reported instead is merely what sells, what suits the interests of those who control these entities and that which does not in anyway conflict with the interests of the stakeholders that influence the output of these entities. Certainly the journalists are Papua New Guineans, but they are subject to the parameters defined by the powers that be that maintain control over what is allowed to run for print and public consumption. Many credible journalists leave after frustrating efforts to be true to their vocation. This is of no concern to the papers as there are many more where they came from.
I assert this because several examples of news of much significance to Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guineans are simply not being reported. Instead what we see is political drivel that is paid for about how well the economy is doing and the great things so called leaders are doing to advance this nation and the many corporate propaganda that is paid for perception development of consumers and political satisfaction. Reality is far from the truth. Decaying infrastructure in all stations and districts, rising levels of horrific and violent crimes, rampant corruption and rising cost of living are the every day realities for the average Papua New Guinean. Social indicators are at their worst and life is simply daily bitter debt-ridden struggle where bitterness abounds and the exploding population of Papua New Guinea constantly competes for increasingly fewer opportunities. The false perception that this economy recently ranked 6th fastest growing economy in the world, is benefitting Papua New Guinea is covertly being promoted by the print media who have become mere tools of foreign corporate (and sometimes foreign government) interest.
What needs to be reported is not these fast food crime news items that shocks and alarms people momentarily but in depth news items on issues that Papua New Guineans need to know about, issues that have the potential to have significant bearing on the future of Papua New Guineans. Issues such as the outflow of substantial capital because of our weak banking laws, the rampant corruption and how it is affecting development, the foreign owned cartels that control the various sectors such as communication, transport and commerce and how these powerful cartels are manipulating Government systems and even the Government and its politicians whether or not covertly or overtly, directly or indirectly, with or without their knowledge for their own gains and benefits, what sinister trade agreements can do to the economy and its people and the numerous threats to national security whereby the security forces of this nation have been seriously compromised and are now being controlled by foreign governments, where all sectors such as health, education, law and order, agriculture and commerce are increasingly controlled by foreign corporate and foreign government interest.
Such issues which are nothing short of a slow rape of a nation and its peoples’ mindset, a re-colonization effort of sorts that threatens the very future of the people of Papua New Guinea should be reported but is instead shelved and even suppressed
Doctors predict looming health crisis
Post Courier, 1 November, 2013.
THE Papua New Guinea Medical Society predicts a massive health crisis is at our doorsteps with most hospitals and health centres to be forced to close in the next few years due to no staff available. This will be so if the government does not inject huge money and resources in health worker training. The society points out that bringing in Filipino nurses or Cuban doctors will not solve the problem. A letter to Post-Courier by the society’s president, Professor Nakapi Tefuarani, treasurer Professor Glen Mola and secretary Linda Tamsen, states serious implications that put the country’s health services in danger of closing. The society pointed out that there is a serious shortage of health workers of all cadres, and the average age of nurses, midwives and community health workers is 45-50 years. This means that most of our nurses and CHWs will retire in the next few years leaving our health services with no staff. A 2008 human resource forum and 2011 World Bank report on human resources in PNG health sector described the situation as a health manpower emergency. “With all these reports and hype about the critical emergency of health worker manpower shortages, one would think that the government is putting extra money into health worker training. Not so,” the letter reads. In the 2013 budgetary allocation for CHW, training went down from an insufficient K3.383 million to K2.148 million, a drop of 37 per cent. In PNG, CHW training is carried out by 13 church agency institutions. The society point out that the government is demanding that the school of medicine and health sciences train more doctors and health professionals, but is only prepared to contribute 10 per cent of the operational funds required. For more than 20 years the school has been left scrounging and begging donor partners for the other 90 per cent of the operational funds necessary to do the job of training doctors and health professionals for the country.
PNG Tops Cancer Chart
The National, 28 October, 2013
Papua New Guinea has one of the highest number of mouth and throat cases in the Pacific region, Health Minister Michael Malabag said. He said “Betel nut chewing has association with cancer of the mouth. Papua New Guinea has the highest incidence of mouth cancer in the world. And I am sure this is attributed to the wide and rampant use of betel nuts in all corners of PNG by young and old. Cancers, including cancer of the mouth, can be prevented if the practice of betel nut chewing is stopped.” The warning comes as Port Moresby prepares to totally ban betel nut sale and chewing. Malabag said men had the highest risk of developing mouth cancer. But women are quickly picking up on it because of the increase in the number of women chewing betel nuts and smoking. He warned that the health system did not have enough cancer treatment specialists and equipment. And practising suicidal habits such as betel nut chewing was avoidable. He said: “More than 90% of mouth cancer patients seen at the Port Moresby General Hospital oral surgery clinic are associated with betel nut chewing. Environmental hygiene is equally important as unhygienic conditions can stimulate disease outbreaks such as malaria. When drainages are blocked with betel nut skins, it creates stagnant water where mosquitoes breed easily.” Malabag said everyone can promote a healthy environment because PNG had adopted the healthy island concept. “People must be seen to be promoting healthy settings in their communities. It is of good health and hygiene that, from this day on, we all should consider making the right choice – stop chewing betel nut,” Malabag said.
Men need attention
The National, November 4th, 2013
GREATER effort into addressing challenges men face to counter family violence in communities is required, an advocate says. Director of Aila Consulting Ltd (ACL) and behavioural change specialist Eddie Aila told a counselling seminar for men and boys yesterday that while the government and its partners were addressing women’s issues to combat family violence, greater efforts should be directed to men’s issues, including challenges they faced that were directly related to family violence. “ACL came up with this initiative because it noticed that a lot of investment and programmes were catering for women and women’s challenges on family violence. A lot of investment is put into programmes for women. But you can see that men are not being empowered. So from ACL’s point of view in terms of family violence, most times the men cause it, help is given to women and nothing is done for the men in terms of empowering and recognition,” he said. ACL has been running seminars for men and boys in Port Moresby, with the objective of releasing inhibitions and understanding the inner self, learn how to influence and learn skills of patience, understanding and communication. He said ACL believed that the goal of ending family violence starts with empowering and recognising men.
Warning on false birth certificates
The National, November 6th, 2013
REGISTRAR-general Augustus Wagambio has warned members of the public against buying false birth certificates from unauthorised people. “People are producing false birth certificates and selling it to the public,” Wagambio said. “My signature has been falsified on those birth certificates and sold on the street which makes them illegal.” Wagambio urged the people to follow proper procedures in getting genuine birth certificates from the registry. Birth certificates can be obtained on request at Vulupindi Haus, Waigani, for K15 each. “Children below 18 and people living with disability will be given birth certificates without paying any fees,” Wagambio said. “After buying the certificates, people can bring it down to the civil registry department office at Boroko for me to sign.” Wagambio has called on members of parliament to support the civil registry department in the registering of people in their electorates. He said the department lacked manpower and funding. “We have programmed everything and are waiting to carry out work but we are still waiting for government funding,” Wagambio said. He said it was important to know the population of PNG because right now it was an estimated figure.
NRI: Corruption has taken root in society
Post Courier, 8 November, 2013
CORRUPTION has taken root in every society of the country and greater awareness about the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) bill is needed, a researcher says. Acting director of the National Research Institute Dr Charles Yala, speaking at a forum organised to raise awareness about the bill, described corruption as a termite. “Termites are small creatures, but when they team up and concentrate on biting the same tree, they can make a giant tree eventually collapse,’’ he said. He said the only way to treat termites was to prevent them from starting their nest at the first place. “In other words, every little corruptive action counts in little things and this have become reality in PNG. “Therefore, the ICAC bill should be focused on education first and foremost, before investigation, prosecution and imposing penalties,” Dr Yala said. He said the ICAC should not be a witch-hunt organisation. Under the leadership of the good governance program, the institute decided to organise the forum with the intent to keep public momentum and discussion on the draft ICAC bill. Director of the Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker said there were number of limited capacity of resources in terms of human and financial resources in order for ICAC to be effective. “We need the capacity to address this issue in PNG. “In PNG, law and order is listed as the first and corruption the second that really needs be given more attention,” Mr Barker said.
Warning on loss of values
The National, November 8th, 2013
A CATHOLIC academic at Divine Word University, in Madang, has warned of the challenge the world will face with the loss of religious values. Dr Catherine Nongkas, the faculty of education dean, told delegates at the Catholic Church General Assembly at DWU that people were developing a mentality in which God was effectively absent “wholly or partially from human life and awareness”. She said secularisation was not only an external threat to believers but it had manifested for some time in the heart of the church herself. “It profoundly distorts the Christian faith from within and consequently the lifestyle and daily behaviour of believers,” Nongkas said. She said for Catholics, this year had been declared as the Year of Faith by Pope Benedict, and she encouraged the faithful to read and study the Catechism of the church to understand the teachings and to defend their faith. She called for a new evangelisation to help transport the faith in areas where it had diminished. Nongkas encouraged participants in the general assembly to reflect, renew their faith, rediscover, deepen, intensify and revitalise their faith and put in into action. “If we look at all individual parishes and dioceses, we are beginning to see that the number of people coming to church on a Sunday is decreasing. Have we started to do some research to find why this is happening,” she asked. She said even at DWU when she first joined, the number of people coming to Sunday mass “so high that there were two masses”. She said however, this year the number of staff and students attending mass had declined.
Anglicare Litercy Working with UPNG and PAU Students
Anglicare 3&4 Quarter Newsletter, 07/10/2013
For the last 4 years, Social Works Strand students from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and Pacific Adventist University (PAU) students have come to do their practicum with Anglicare PNG Inc. From the adult literacy programs perspective, it has been an opportunity to have many of our young elite from both universities come to really understand the issue of illit-eracy among our youths and adults, and to realise how privileged they are to be educated. From the Pacific Adventist University, the Education Department offers a Survey Type Education Practicum (STEP) course for the Year Two Education and Year One Theology student’s which happens at the beginning of the Semester two each year. They attend a week long adult literacy teachers training and are then attached to Non-Governmental Organizations, Community and Church Based Organizations (CBOs) and government departments that provide literacy programs. This year Anglicare Literacy had the privilege of having seven students for STEP. The 7 students were really challenged at the number of illiterates and semi-illiterate students hunger to be educated and having both youths and adults within the same class.
The National, November 11th, 2013
BOYS at the City Mission Farm at Mirigeda, outside Port Moresby, are being taught to take the lead in the fight against gender-based violence. City Mission chief executive Rev Ron Browne said gender-based violence could not be stopped with women after it happened. “In light of what’s happening in this country with gender-based violence, our Haus Ruth deals with it but we realise that it’s not the answer,” he said. “The answer is really out there on this rugby field (boys). “The answer is teaching these boys what the Bible teaches in terms of a man and woman relationship, and how important a woman is to complete that young man. “We teach these young men how to be men, how to be good husbands in the days ahead. “That’s important to us and we’re doing it in a Biblical way, the way the Bible teaches us. “I believe the long-term answer to gender-based violence in this country is not working with the women after it happens, it’s really working with the boys to get them to change so that they know better. “That’s something we’re very passionate about.”
Official: Involve men
The National, November 12th, 2013
PAPUA New Guinea’s cultural barriers towards maternal and child care should be addressed to improve male involvement, a health official says. Maternity and raising children are seen as the sole responsibility of women, while husbands provide for food shelter and protection, Moses Bogandri from the health sector in East New Britain, said. This practice should be changed, he said. Bogandri was speaking during the 2013 national conference hosted by the National Catholic Health and HIV services in conjunction with the Burnet Institute and funded by Global Fund last month in Port Moresby. “Men should be involved more in maternal and child care because they are the main implementers in decision-making regarding finance and birth spacing,” Bogandri said. “There is a need to better understand the benefits and harms for women, newborns and families associated with male involvement interventions in maternal and child health.” Hospitals around the country are now encouraging the presence of men during labour to show them what women endure to help them make decisions’ regarding birth spacing. This, however, in some hospitals are not practiced due to privacy issues.
PM shocked over true face of asylum deal
Post Courier, 15 November
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has expressed alarm that small Papua New Guineans are not benefiting from the Manus asylum processing centre deal. Mr O’Neill told Parliament that he will be writing to Foreign Minister and the Australian High Commission about the concerns raised by Manus MP Ronney Knight in Parliament yesterday claiming that the Manus people are not benefiting from the spin-off businesses. “It is alarming to note that our Papua New Guinean businessmen and women are not given the opportunity to participate and that was the whole intention of setting up this centre in the first place.” Prime Minister O’Neill said in reply to question from Manus MP. “The agreements are very clear and it’s a blatant abuse of trust. This kind of arrangements is unacceptable. That asylum centre is a permanent centre. The sooner the operators of the centre realise that they have to become part of the community, the easier it is going to become. “This is not a one off thing; that is why they are building a permanent centre on the ground. “I think its important that all our visitors and all the expatriate workforce must work closely with the community so they too can benefit from the spin-off businesses that are available.” He said there are a lot of good things happening though recently some bad things are starting to show on the ground. He said guest houses and hotels have benefited from the demand until recently when a Singapore-based accommodation barge arrived and docked at Lombrum – charging K1,500 to K3,000 a night. Overnight the local hospital industry has depleted. He said some local companies that have invested in machinery and transport now find that an Australian contractor has brought in several dump trucks and machinery – obviously to take advantage of the spin-offs. “What about the locals who are now burdened with bank loans to provide this service while a contractor organises accommodation at an inflated price?” Mr Knight asked “I was also informed of a protest by local women, teachers and defence force personnel wives and daughters over harassment by drunk G4S security guards. “Enough of boomerang aid and enough of taking advantage of the good nature of the Manus people. Can Australia keep to its commitment to help local business and hire local machines.”
Hospital staff morale drops
The National, November 15th, 2013
STAFF morale at the Port Moresby General Hospital is low after Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced that the hospital would be privatised. A stop-work meeting is planned for today to discuss the planned privatisation under which staff, including nurses and doctors, would lose their public service jobs and be rehired under a private structure. O’Neill last month revealed that the hospital would be reestablished under a statutory authority by next year. “If we meet with our members and they say strike, we will go on strike and ask the (health) minister and secretary to come and explain,” a senior health workers’ representative said. “We were shocked when he (O’Neill) made the announcement,” he said. “The most-important thing is service delivery for the rural people who come here. “This general hospital belongs to the country. “They have not said anything about how the University of Papua New Guinea will work with the hospital. “We can’t just accept this, be forced out and come back and reapply.”
Since O’Neill’s visit, all hospital security guards have been laid off, and replaced by a private security firm Black Swan. “They have replaced security guards and cooks,” the health workers’ representative said
Study: People do not know how to report corruption
The National, November 15th, 2013
A RECENT study has found that many Papua New Guineans are concerned about corruption and its impact but do not know how to report it. According to the ‘Papua New Guineans understandings of corruption’ report launched on Wednesday by TIPNG and consultant Dr Grant Walton of the Australian National University, 26% of people said they knew the process to report a case of corruption while the rest did not know or were unsure. The report showed that while corruption is embedded in all levels of societies, a good number of people did not know the process to report corruption. The survey was carried out in nine provinces in PNG where people were asked about corruption and its impacts on their lives and how they respond to it. Walton said: “When respondants evaluated scenarios depicting corruption, most said the scenarios were unacceptable but fewer said they would cause harm. This suggests people are concerned about corruption but many do not believe it directly impacts them.”
Low quality imported poultry products a threat to local farmers
Post Courier, 19th November, 2013
PAPUA New Guinea has become a “dumping ground” for low quality poultry products which is threatening the livelihood of village farmers. The imported products – mostly from Australia and New Zealand – are primarily of low quality, high fat and dark meat portions. They are mostly chicken wings, thighs, legs, cocktail and edible feet, according to the PNG Poultry Industry Association. “Much of this product is from culled breeders and spent layer hens – very old birds that are at the end of their economic life. These are basically products that cannot be sold in Australian supermarkets and food outlets,” the association secretary Keith Galgal said. “In essence, these products have no economic value to Australian producers.” Australian consumers prefer white meat portions, high protein, low fat chicken breast meat. “But for a PNG importer it is all profit,” said Mr Galgal. “The ‘dumping’ of low quality poultry products is ruining village growers’ livelihoods (as they lose their jobs due to the reduced demand for PNG chicken) as PNG importers get rich ‘profiteering’ from this trade.”
“We know the cost of production of chicken in Australia is approximately AU$3.18 per kilogram (AU$0.50). “This cost is similar to the cost of production in PNG, therefore, this export price of AU$1.12 per kilogram is significantly below their cost of production. “Clearly a company cannot survive if they have to sell their products for less then they cost to produce.
Lifestyle diseases on the rise
Post Courier 19 November, 2013
PAPUA New Guinea’s economic boom is contributing to an increase in lifestyle diseases including diabetes, senior health officials have warned. Department of Health deputy secretary Dr Paison Dakulala warned that the failure to put in place mechanisms to address lifestyle diseases could have a “tsunami” effect on the country. “If we are inactive, if we eat fast food like, big rooster and all the other food that contains sugar and salt and all of that – if we are not careful with that then what happens is that we are building for a tsunami that can come in and affect us so while we have our economic boom, we will also have that boom of a rise in non-communicable disease and diabetes would be at the highest level,” he told participants after they completed a walkathon. Smoking, unhealthy diet, harmful alcohol use and lack of physical activity were the main risk factors in PNG that are contributing to the increase in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. In fact, according to Dr Dakulala, PNG leads the Pacific Island states in smoking with 44 percent of the adult population and 43 percent of 13-25 year-olds smoking. A health survey also reveals that 98.9 percent of the PNG population ignore the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. “What do these figures imply to us? It shows that PNG has high risk factors of non-communicable diseases. In PNG he said the diabetes prevalence rate in PNG is estimated to be 5.44 percent which equates to about 5230 adults dying of diabetes annually.
Church-State partnerships get K25m
Post Courier, 20th November, 2013
Churches providing vital services in the country can expand on their service delivery for next year after K25 million from the national Budget was allocated for the Church-State partnership program. At present, churches in the partnership program include Anglican, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Salvation Army, Lutheran, United and the Baptist church. The allocated K25 million may come as a show of belief in what the partnership program can achieve and follows a pledge of support from the government made by National Planning and Monitoring Minister Charles Abel during the 2013 State-Church Partnership Program forum held in Port Moresby last month. Mr Abel said during the forum that a strong partnership between churches and the government can result in effective service delivery. Minister Abel said churches, being the second largest providers of basic services in the country apart from the government, have proven to be effective partners for nation building. He had told the participants of the forum that the government may struggle to carry out service delivery effectively at times so partnering with churches can help achieve their common goals for the good of the people. Mr Abel said, “If churches were providing services effectively, especially in health and education, then the only sensible thing would be for the government to give churches more support.” He said the funds will be made available in the form of grants to the different churches through the Churches Development Council once all budgetary processes are done. Mr Abel said the amount of funding that each church will receive will be based on the number of health and education facilities that a particular church has that is effectively providing services within the communities.
Expert: More work involved in e-ID project
The National, November 20th, 2013
THERE is a lot more work involved in the Electronic ID project than just collecting citizens’ bio-data and maintaining them electronically, a workshop has been told. Darren Whitaker-Burnet from WhosonLocation.com in New Zealand was addressing an Information and Communication Technology workshop in Port Moresby. “The national bio-data system will serve government agencies like the police and correctional service, the health and education departments and the PNG Electoral Commission, to name a few, who can use this system to carry out their work and deliver services to the people of Papua New Guinea,” he said. “It is a multipurpose and cloud-based system we want to develop for Papua New Guinea. “It will be hosted by an appointed agency of Government in country. “For example, the PNG Electoral Commission can use it to conduct e-voting in elections. “Police can use it to monitor criminals using bio-metrics on smart phones. “The health department can maintain patients’ records and the education department can maintain student and staff records.” Whitaker-Burnet told public servants, representatives of civil society groups and the private sector that the E-ID project initiated by the Government should cost not more than K100 million to roll out. The project must be concluded by 2016, one year before the 2017 national election. The PNG Electoral Commission is planning to introduce E-Voting in the coming elections and is evaluating options to implement the project.
Kua: Govt will push for death penalty
Post Courier, 21st November, 2013
THE death penalty was confirmed to be the next big legislation that the Government aims to pass. Attorney General Kerenga Kua confirmed this when answering a series of questions from Member for Lagaip-Porgera Nixon Mangape, highlighting rumours that have been circulating about the possible disaffirmation of the death penalty from its planned introduction. “I assure the people of PNG that we will not waiver from implementing the death penalty,” said the Attorney General. He said during the past few months a delegation has visited foreign countries such as the United States state of Texas, Thailand and Indonesia, where the death penalty is being enforced, to better understand the mechanics of the legislation and how to implement it. “A full report has been compiled from these visits and I would like to ensure the people of PNG that we will be passing legislation for the extreme penalty’s usage soon.
Homebrew worry in Mendi
The National, November 21st, 2013
Homebrew production and consumption is widespread in Mendi town as a result of the alcohol ban in the province. Lekson Posu, a youth leader from Mendi, said he was worried that the trend of drinking homebrew may lead to an unhealthy and problematic society. “Youths are the ones that resort to these harmful substances, commonly known on the streets as “fire wara”. They are vulnerable to it and may pay the consequences of consuming it in health terms as well as they may lead to law and order situations going out of hand,” Posu said. “The youths are our leaders of tomorrow and the relevant authorities in the province must step up and work together to eradicate the use and production of this illegal substance in the town and province as well. “It is sold on the streets of Mendi town, market and even small villages located within the outskirts of the town. “People are drinking it publicly in town and everywhere and this is not good.” Provincial police commander for Southern Highlands Chief Insp Sibron Papoto confirmed homebrew was a problem and Posu’s story was real.
SB$20,000 Fine for Smokers
Solomon Times. 18 November 2013
Communters in Honiara will be subject to a crackdown of smoking in public transportation as police, health and public transport officials join forces. The joint initiative is aimed at protecting commuters from second-hand cigarette smoke. Smoking has been banned at all public-transport under the Tobacco control Act since January this year. Smoking was already prohibited on buses, taxis and passenger boats, as well as in any enclosed area where people catch public transport. On the spot fines of SB$20,000 apply for anyone who fails to comply with the law.
Document paves way for family support centres
Post Courier, 22 November, 2013
A document to assist provincial health authorities and hospital boards to set up functional family support centres in hospitals was launched in Port Moresby on Wednesday evening. The document contains guidelines on how to establish hospital based family support centres and describes the target population and their particular care and treatment needs. It also describes the services needed by those who have suffered, are suffering or are at risk of suffering family and sexual violence. The document lays out guidelines for how these needs can be met in a provincial hospital setting. It identifies some of the issues related to the ongoing operation and management of the centres that need to be considered in the set up phase. These centres will have a comprehensive care package for survivors of this kind of violence. This includes early and ongoing psycho-social support through appropriate emergency counselling to help them deal with trauma. And it explains how survivors can access legal help if they choose to. According to the Deputy Secretary for Health, Dr Paison Dakulala, who launched the guidelines, there were 12 centres in operation but several have closed and only very few remain. The national co-ordinator for the Family Sexual Violence Action Committee, Ume Wainetti, said the meeting should develop a plan of action so survivors have access to medical, justice and protection services.
Statistics show increase in violence
Post Courier, 25 November, 2013
Very disturbing statistics show that Medecins Sans Frontieres has treated more then 18,000 individual survivors of violence against women, with emergency medical and psychosocial care in Lae, Tari and Port Moresby. Medecins Sans Frontiers reported that the total patients treated at Lae family support centre from December 2007 to June 2013 was 13,305. Other reports include treatment of child survivors of violence (2,800), direct death threats (5,350), abduction and confinement (557) and weapons used (5,458). The United Nation reported that rates of family and sexual violence in the Papua New Guinea are among the world’s highest. National program officer for the Family Sexual Violence Action Committee, Ume Waineti, said: “A lot of young girls going to school are raped on the way and they have babies. One of the villages we went to, every girl 14-17 had a child. And these children were conceived by school girls walking to school or coming home from school.” In PNG, the rates of sexual violence are significantly high. In the 1980s, reports showed 66 per cent of husbands interviewed said they had beaten their wives while 67 per cent of women interviewed said they had been beaten. “Violence is common here, most of us experience this. But forced sex by our husbands, that is the harder thing to deal with. It is very common,” a Sepik woman who requested anonymity said.
Survivors of violence find hope
Post Courier 25 November, 2013
THE smile on the face of 60-year-old Mama Rasta said it all as she waved her prosthetic hand showing her new lease of life. She survived a savage attack in the Jiwaka Province for alleged sorcery, following the death of a young man in 2003 but minus her arm. Early this month, Mama Rasta underwent an operation at the Kudjip Hospital, Jiwaka Province to have a prosthetic hand fitted on her arm. “Everything is okay now but the ‘new hand’ is heavy but I know my continuous use of it will make it a normal part of my body. My family is happy that my ‘new hand’ is giving me a new lease of life. In fact other women with amputated arms are also coming forward and asking me on how to get one for them,” she told the Post-Courier from her Ariran village in the Jiwaka Province last night. During the funeral for a young man 10 years ago attended by all the villagers, the crowd surrounded Rasta and began to beat her severely, strangling her with a rope and wielding axes, bush knives and wooden sticks. She managed to escape and ran into her house, where she was caught by one of the attackers who tried to cut off her head with a bush knife, but she managed to protect herself with her arm, which was chopped off. Ten years after the attack Mama Rasta underwent an operation at the Kudjip Hospital, Jiwaka Province to have a prosthetic hand fitted on her arm.
The images of Mama Rasta, and other Papua New Guinean women whose lives were turned upside down by gender violence have taken on an international dimension, courtesy of Russian documentary photographer Vlad Sokhin. His photo collection portrays harrowing images of ordinary Papua New Guinean women with broken lips and chopped off arms. But a smile after surgery and surrounded by family members who care about them shows that there is life after the beating and all the abuse. When asked by the Post-Courier on what he hopes to achieve from his work, Mr Sokhin said: “My mission, my job is to expose what has happened and then people can try to do something about that and from what I see it is already happening”.
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