NEWS (Melanesian/Pacific) 3 October 2012
1) PNG: Peter O’Neill demande des comptes à l’Indonésie
Le Premier ministre s’est dit inquiet des violations des droits de l’homme en Papouasie Occidentale.
2) PNG To Deliver Message Over West Papua Abuses
PM says ‘diplomatic note’ will be given to Indonesia
By Scott Waide
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 2, 2012) – After decades of maintaining a relatively neutral stance, the Papua New Guinea government will finally make a strong representation to Indonesia to raise concerns over alleged human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian military in the West Papua region.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said in an interview with EMTV on Friday that the Foreign Affairs Department will deliver a diplomatic note expressing the concerns of Papua New Guinea citizens over the two Melanesian provinces of Papua and West Papua to the Indonesian government.
The response comes days after representatives of more than 4,000 Lutheran women called on Peter O’Neill to look into the difficulties faced by West Papuans.
The public appeal for government attention to the West Papuan cause was made by Rose Muingepe, a Lutheran Women’s representative who was attending a conference in Mumeng outside of Lae City.
“We are asking the government to raise the plight of the West Papuans on the floor of Parliament. We know that women are being raped, men are being tortured and we want our government to pay attention to the issue.
Prime Minister O’Neill said a diplomatic note would be passed on to the Indonesian government through PNG’s Jakarta embassy.
“We need to respect international conventions made in organizations like the United Nations. We also need to respect that Indonesia is a part of those organizations.
“Through those conventions we will deliver a diplomatic note raising the concerns of our citizens over some of the reports that we are getting from West Papua on human rights abuses.”
This is the first time in years that a Papua New Guinean prime minister has acknowledged human rights abuses in Papua.
Prime Minster O’Neill will also be bringing the West Papua issue to the attention of the Indonesian President in an upcoming democracy conference in Bali later this year.
At last month’s Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific Scoop’s Henry Yamo reported following an interview with Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini that Pacific leaders did not back Vanuatu’s supports for West Papua.
By Online Editor
1:34 pm GMT+12, 03/10/2012, Papua New Guinea
More than 200 scientists, including a large local team, will be exploring the rainforests and marine environment of Papua New Guinea in the next three months.
From the Bismarck Sea to the slopes of Mt Wilhelm, the PNG expedition will see researchers, students and volunteers, including 32 members of local institutions, participate in one of the largest research expeditions the country has hosted.
The expedition is led by France’s National Museum of Natural History, Pro-Natura International and the French Institut de recherche pour le developement (Institute of Research and Development).
Its partners are the University of Papua New Guinea, the Binatang Research Centre and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
The expedition is financed by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Total Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, EDF Foundation, Entrepose Contracting, French Pacific Fund and government of New Caledonia.
The land expedition will gather new data on plant and animal species distribution in Mount Wilhelm’s forests, from sea level to the tree line.
The marine expedition will document the specific composition of some of the planet’s richest marine ecosystems, from coast to deep waters, using a wide array of qualitative and quantitative methods.
The land-based component of the expedition is led by Olivier Pascal of Pro-Natura International, Maurice Leponce of Belgian Royal Institute of the Natural Sciences, Vojtch Novotny of Binatang Research Centre and Jérôme Munzinger of IRD.
The land-based part of the expedition will be investigating Madang, which provides excellent conditions for researchers to study how plants and animals spread and interact according to altitude on a large tropical mountain.
The specimens and data collected will enable several objectives to be achieved:
* Improve understanding of biodiversity according to altitude in tropical rainforests. This knowledge could help to improve the model used to calculate the number of species living on the planet; it will enable the impact of climate change to be measured more effectively in these regions;
*Encourage local communities to take part in the collection of data on their environment, and promote their involvement in conservation programmes’, and,
*Contribute to the training of Papuan Para-taxonomists and Para-ecologists, with the aim of combining modern biology with traditional knowledge of the field.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
4:09 pm GMT+12, 03/10/2012, Papua New Guinea
There are more than 2,200 homeless men, women and children struggling to survive on the streets of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby, a Salvation Army study has revealed.
Some of the children, as young as 10, were being encouraged by older people to become sex workers to earn money to survive.
“Twenty-five per cent of these girls (who sell themselves for sex) are also given drugs and/or alcohol by their aunties or parents,” Salvation Army PNG programme secretary Major Rex Johnstone told The National Tuesday.
“At the beginning of this year, a couple (Captains Michael and Giam Dengi) was specifically appointed to find out why people were living on the streets of Port Moresby.”
The country’s industrial capital, Lae, did not seem to have such a problem on a similar scale as the nation’s capital.
“It was only found that there would have only been (an estimated) 100-200 people at the most living on the streets of Lae,” he said.
“From a survey that was conducted in Boroko, Waigani, 4-Mile, Ela Beach and the central business district (over March and April), it was estimated that there are about 900 adults and 1,350 children living on the streets of Port Moresby.
“They are living under bridges and in doorways of shops,” Johnstone said.
“Only 10% of the children went to school, leaving the other 90% to beg or collect plastic containers to sell for income.
“Boys and girls also enter the sex trade to earn money to survive.
“When these people come to the city, they initially stayed with wantoks in the settlements.
“But then as different problems arise in the family, they are kicked out and end up on the streets.
“People can live on the streets all their lives (in Port Moresby) and many of them die on the streets.”
The Ela Beach area sustained the largest number of homeless in the city with about 350 adults and 400 children congregating there.
“The sad thing for PNG is that many of these people were born on the streets and they do not know where their home province is.”
Johnstone said although some people did not know where they came from, “by looking at them you can see in their features that they come from Samarai, the Highlands, Gulf, Central, New Guinea Islands and Momase”.
He said the Salvation Army was assisting the homeless with regular food runs.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 03/10/2012, Papua New Guinea
Bougainville House of Representatives Speaker Andrew Miriki will soon be advised on the ABG President Chief Dr John Momis’ decision to do a reshuffle in the Bougainville Executive Council.
The two ministries that were affected are the Ministry for Community Development, Women, Youth and Churches and the Ministry for Culture and Tourism.
Former Minister for Community Development, Women, Youth and Churches and women representative for South Bougainville, Rose Pihei was moved to the Culture and Tourism portfolio.
Pihei takes over the responsibility following the death of the former minister and member for Rau the late Joseph Egilio.
Member for Eivo/Torau Melchior Dare now takes over the Community Development, Women, Youth and Churches ministry.
Momis while advising Pihei on the reshuffle said: “This change was necessitated by the need to improve the ministerial responsibilities in directing the two divisions, Community Development, Women, Youth and Churches and Culture and Tourism to achieve the objectives of the Government by mobilising the youth, women and churches to work together, to build a fair and just society and to promote tourist attractions to overseas tourists,” President Momis said.
He added that the ABG wants to generate much needed revenue for the Government and income for the people of Bougainville.
The same message was also conveyed by President Momis to Minister Melchior Dare.
“As Ministers, we are required to demonstrate solidarity in Cabinet/BEC. I have every confidence in you as ministers that you will provide creative and proactive leadership through your respective divisions,” President Momis said.
He also congratulated both ministers on their new appointments.
The Bougainville Constitution requires that when the appointments are finalised, the President then advises the Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives on the appointments of the members of the Bougainville Executive Council.
The letter of notification of the appointments to the Speaker, the Instruments of Appointments and the Determination of portfolio responsibilities are then published in the Bougainville Gazette…
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:59 pm GMT+12, 03/10/2012, New Caledonia
The New Caledonian government has approved the sale of laterites, or nickel ore, by three local companies to the Australian company, Queensland Nickel.
A government statement says the sales are authorised until the end of March.
They affect the three companies, Gemini, SLN and Societe des Mines de la Tontouta.
The total quantity of ore to be sold is in excess of just one million tonnes.
New Caledonia has about a fifth of the world’s known nickel deposits.
7) Fiji must respect labour laws: union
By Online Editor
10:06 am GMT+12, 03/10/2012, Australia
The Fijian government will have no one to blame but itself if the US terminates an export arrangement which supports thousands of jobs on the Pacific island, a union says.
Fiji currently benefits from the General System of Preferences (GSP) agreement, which allows developing third world countries to export their goods to the US duty free.
However that arrangement – which supports up to 15,000 Fijian jobs – is under threat because, in order to qualify for the GSP, countries must conform to international labour standards.
A GSP hearing was held in the US on Tuesday night to examine the country’s working conditions, which Fiji’s Trade Union Congress (FTUC) claims have sunk to an all-time low since Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in 2006.
It claims public sector workers are now denied the right to collective bargaining or to trade union representation, while around 60 per cent of the population live on, or below, the poverty line.
FTUC national secretary Felix Anthony says the Fiji government must improve working conditions if it wants to avoid the GSP arrangement being scrapped.
“This can be avoided if the government complies with international labour standards,” Anthony told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
“They (the government) have reports that tell them how to do things in the right way so it’s not rocket science for them.”
In the run up to the GSP hearing, the Fijian government has claimed it respects workers’ rights and has accused the country’s trade union movement of acting “un-Fijian” by highlighting problems in the workplace.
Anthony said the regime has nothing to worry about if international workplace laws have been followed.
“If you believe you are doing the right thing… you will be able to convince the hearing you are doing the right thing,” Anthony said.
“But if you’re not you have reason to be concerned, and in that case you need to do the right thing.”
Workers rights such as Freedom of Association and the right to collectively bargain must be immediately restored, Anthony said.
“The onus is on the regime to fix the problem they’ve created for themselves.”
Anthony who is returning to Fiji after a meeting of the International Labour Organisation, is in Australia to brief the ACTU.