Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 819

Melanesia:

1) Strengthening Melanesia to fight climate change
By Online Editor
10:24 am GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Fiji

The Fiji government is looking forward to the appointment of a Climate Change Advisor to strengthen the MSG secretariat’s role in addressing this issue.

Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and head of delegation to the 2nd MSG Environment and Climate Change Ministers Meeting last week, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said the recruitment of an advisor would support initiatives that were endorsed in the MSG Environment and Climate Change Declaration last year.

“The recruitment will specifically support the initiatives that are in the MSG Environment and Climate Change Declaration, including the Blue Carbon and Green Growth Initiatives,” he said.

The officer would be based at the MSG secretariat in Vanuatu.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s efforts in implementing climate change strategies at the national level have been commended at a regional leaders meeting last week

Acting deputy director general of the MSG Secretariat Peni Sikivou says a holistic approach is needed to advance the environmental and climate change issues and Fiji must be commended for its efforts at the national level.

“A holistic approach is encouraged, to ensure coherence in the future planning, formulation and implementation of environment and climate change policies and programmes not only at the MSG level but more importantly at the national and community level,” Sikivou said.

“It is necessary that national issues are reflected in the MSG framework that is being formulated.”

Sikivou said this is an opportune time for MSG members to tackle the challenges of environment and climate change and formulate a consistent and co-coordinated approach to addressing these issues, which will yield long-term results.

And the government of Papua New Guinea has pledged its support for the initiatives proposed by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in tackling climate change in the region.

PNG’s head of delegation, Peter Eafeare said PNG is a country that has been experiencing impacts of Climate Change.

“My government will continue to support the MSG in tackling climate change and we will continue with our national priorities to provide linkages to regional initiatives and harmonise rather than re-inventing the wheel,” he said.

Eafeare said climate change is an important global issue for governments to consider and effective measures must be taken to address it.

“We hope that the outcomes reflect upon our leaders Declaration on Environment and Climate Change signed last year as an over – arching framework that provides the platform or basis to guide effective implementation of our regional commitments which will be later tabled to the MSG Leaders Summit in June,” he added.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

2)PNG Palimen i lusim wanpela memba blongen

Postim 11 March 2013, 19:45 AEST
Firmin Nanol

PNG Palimen ibin lusim wanpela memba blong en husait ibin dai long wanpela sik.

Port Moresby niusman Firmin Nanol ibin ripot dispela memba em  long Ludwig Schulze ibin dai long Friday long  Pacific International Hospital long Port Moresby.

Em ibin go insait  long palimen  long 1992,makim ol pipol blong Angoram long East Sepik Provins  blong PNG na ibin holim wok olsem Minista blong Polis.

Mr Schulze ibin lusim seat blong em igo long Arthur Somare  long 1997 general ileksen, tasol ibin nap long winim bek tenpela yar bihain long 2012 .

Praim Minista Peter O’Neill ibin tok emi sori samting long lukim palimen i lusim memba i makim yet pipol blong em.

Lida blong Opposisen  Belden Namah tu ibin givim tok sori blong em.

Ilektoral Komisin blong PNG ibin tok bai igat by ileksen long makim nupela memba long taim ol bai makim bihain.

3) Indonesia police accused of torturing three Papuans

Posted at 03:33 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

Indonesian police have been accused of torturing three civilians in Lanny Jaya Regency of Papua province.

Suara Papua reports that the three Papuans, who are members of the Baptist Church in Pirime, were arrested after returning from a trip to Sinak.

Sinak is part of the region where a massive military and police operation is underway in response to last month’s shooting deaths of eight Indonesian soldiers.

It is not yet clear why the three men were arrested but they have been taken to Wamena Police Station.

The Chairman of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua, Socratez Sofyan Yoman, says the three men, aged 23, 30 and 46 have been tortured.

The Reverend Sofyan says he understands that police sliced off skin of the arrested men with razor blades.

Papua police have yet to make a statement on the arrests.

Radio New Zealand International


4) Human traffickers targeting PNG

By Online Editor
3:21 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Human traffickers are now targeting Papua New Guinea as a destination for their illegal human trafficking business given the boom in economic activities.

This has come to light following the arrest of two men from Nepal by the Immigration Task Force Rausim Alien Team.

The two men were nabbed at a guest house at the Tokarara suburb in Port Moresby, on Friday.

They say they paid US$30,000 to human traffickers in Kathmandu for a better paid job in the PNG LNG project.

According to intelligence reports, the duo paid the money to human trafficking agents in Kathmandu, Nepal, who then arranged with networks in the Philippines, to have the men transported to Manila, and later to PNG.

When they arrived in Port Moresby, they were picked up at the Jacksons International Airport by their PNG agent, and then to the guest house at Tokarara.

These Nepalese were promised better offers of working with the PNG LNG project which lured them to pay substantial amount of money to human traffickers to get into PNG, which is now the target country for human traffickers.

The report says human traffickers’ network in PNG have already been identified.

Most of them are allegedly operating under the guise of eco-tourism companies.

The Task Force is now calling on the government to pay attention to this issue as it has now become a serious national security matter.

SOURCE: NBC/PACNEWS

5)Security needed at border: PNG Defence Force
By Online Editor
4:44 pm GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Apart from basic services and infrastructure needs, security is one of the most pressing issues that need immediate attention along the 750 kilometer PNG-Indonesia land border.

This is especially the case at the southern section of the border in Western province.

Papua New Guinea Defence Force Chief of Operations, Colonel Walter Enuma, said troops will be deployed to Torasi, Bula and Weam in Western province as soon as the national government makes funds available. “We will be deploying soldiers to the border as soon the national government gives us the funds,” he said.

Col Enuma stressed that with limited funding and logistics over the years, soldiers have not been able to provide full security in the border area in both Western and West Sepik provinces.

He is hoping that with more funds and the pressing need for security, the situation should change.

Col Enuma said the soldiers will be establishing entry and exit points on the border to monitor the movements of people in and out of the country. “It is an immediate security challenge that needs to be addressed concurrently,” he added.

Col Enuma pointed out that the immediate plan was to establish security and in the long term make the government presence known and felt at the border. “Right now we don’t have security. There is no presence of security and that is a big risk,” he said.

“My men will be deployed soon to Bula, Weam and Torasi and we will start working on establishing security, surveillance and regular patrols,” Col Enuma said.

However, he said the whole operation will need the backing of the national government and the two provincial governments.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

6) Bougainville President Momis reveals autonomy panel

By Online Editor
3:17 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Autonomous region of Bougainville President John Momis has announced the composition of the panel of experts that will review autonomy arrangements for Bougainville.

The panel – Dr Ahai Naihuwo, John Mooney and Mark Smith for the ABG and Dr Lawrence Suase, Danny Aloi and Nemo Yelo for PNG.

Prof Andrew Axline of the University of Otawa in Canada, Prof Ted Wolfers of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales and Dr Anthony Regan of the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, will also lend their expertise.

Momis said other individuals with particular knowledge of policy, law and economics and other issues in both the national and the ABG governments would also be readily accessible.

“There must be a strong element of political participation in this work and for this to work,both governments have agreed to establish political oversight by agreeing to support the appointment of respective parliamentary committee,” he said.

“Such committee will not only monitor and track the review process, but also matters related to the preparation for referendum and going forward.”

Momis also urged the panel of experts to listen to the people’s views, including the former combatants, the Mee’kamui and all other factions on Bougainville.

“No group should be denied the opportunity to make full representation of their views and positions,” President Momis said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

7) Solomons MPs Allegedly Abusing Constituency Funds
Anti-corruption group says fund should not be paid directly to MPs

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 7, 2013) – Transparency Solomon Islands says constituency funds should be better accounted for and not go directly into the bank accounts of members of parliament.

The anti-corruption watchdog says more than US$27 million were channeled through the constituency funds system but not all of it has been accounted for.

The Executive Officer for TI Solomon Islands, Daniel Whenua, says there is no mechanism to track how the funds are being spent although the government knows some MPs are misusing it.

“Every spending of this constituency fund has to be public. And we prefer a system in which this money does not go directly into the MPs account but there is a kind of committee that is created to look after this money.”

Daniel Whenua says a bill is now before parliament to establish a structure to ensure there is transparency in each transaction.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

Solomons Prime Minister Negotiates Solution To Airport Dispute
Disrupted Munda airport project to continue

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, March 11, 2013) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo has successfully negotiated an agreement between disputing landowning groups in the Munda region over the Munda Airport Project.

The Prime Minister flew to Munda last Saturday where he held a 3 hour meeting with the disputing parties and convinced them to sign a deal to end a land row which halted work on the New Zealand funded multi-million dollar project in past weeks.

Work on the project is now expected to resume today, Monday 11th March.

Three parties disputed a gravel site resulting in the closure of the Vulea /Mamamisi quarry which supplied gravel for the project in recent weeks.

New Zealand High Commissioner, Mark Ramsden who was invited to attend the meeting had earlier announced that his Government could withdraw its funding from the project if the dispute was not resolved.

In an urgent move to address the issue, Mr. Lilo had personally taken the lead in resolving the issue and discussed with the community about the importance of the airport to the region and the country at large.

He said it was important that the disputing parties allow the project to continue as the benefits that associate with it will be huge and they will be the direct beneficiaries.

Mr. Lilo encouraged the people of the community to appreciate the assistance that New Zealand had given and they in turn should give full support to the development.

The meeting was attended by all parties and the communities in Munda.

Following heated but successful discussions by the parties, leaders of all the parties as well as youth and women representatives signed an agreement with the Government to allow the project to continue.

They also agreed that there will no disputes and disturbances until the project is completed.

The Government in turn has agreed to provide financial assistance and the funds will in the meantime be in the custody of the Attorney General.

Prime Minister Lilo said he was extremely happy with the understanding reached between the parties.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we have sorted the problem to allow the project to resume. I can’t emphasis the importance of this project to Munda, Western Province and the Solomon Islands,” he said.

All leaders from the Government and the Munda community that have contributed have spoken highly of the Prime Minister for taking the initiative to resolve the dispute.

Solomon Times

8) ‘Foreign Influences’ Destroying Vanuatu Custom: Lini
Acting PM says youth must learn early to appreciate culture

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 7, 2013) – “Today many foreign influences destroy our customs and cultures. We need to place stronger emphasis on reviving and promoting our custom and cultures amongst our people and in schools so that the children and young people will gain the knowledge of their good and valuable cultural way of life,” the Acting Vanuatu Prime Minister Ham Lini said at the national Chiefs’ Day celebration yesterday.

He also questioned why many chiefs and their people did not turn up at the Chiefs Nakamal in Port Vila yesterday morning for the National Chiefs Day celebrations at the headquarter of the National Council of Chiefs.

“Maybe the chiefs are celebrating with their people in other areas of Port Vila,” Acting PM Ham Lini added to his short remarks during the official speeches for the National Chiefs’ Day at the Chiefs Nakamal yesterday morning.

Only the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Ham Lini and two other state Ministers; Internal Affairs Minister, Toara Daniel and Justice Minister Thomas Lakin, were present yesterday with two Director Generals and a few government officials and Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek.

Just over 100 people including colorful custom dances of men, women and children from Tanna performed traditional dances to welcome the Acting Prime Minister and entertain the officials and guest at the celebrations.

Lini said he truly appreciated the custom dancers from Tanna who performed in their traditional custom way and particularly as he saw the young boys and girls and the children as young as 3-5 years old.

“We must teach our children our rich and varied cultures in schools so that when they grow up they will embrace and not only understand but put into practice their good cultural ways of life and let it be part of the pride of the life of Vanuatu,” Acting PM Lini voiced during the National Day of Chiefs.

“Today it is difficult to see where and how we should start training the children about their cultural way of life in schools, “said Acting PM Lini.

He called on chiefs and leaders in the country to push forward for a roadmap that will include teaching young people and the children their rich and varied cultures in all schools at all levels throughout the country.

As a high ranking chief himself, the Acting PM did not hesitate to join the colorful dancers of men, women and children from Tanna, joined by the Chief Justice Lunabek.

Kava ceremony and public lunch for the guests and all who attended ended the day’s program in Port Vila.

Daily Post understands that the reason for many islands’ chiefs not turning up at the Chiefs Nakamal was because different island chiefs also organized celebrations throughout different centers in Port Vila and celebrated the Chiefs’ Day with their own members of the communities in their areas.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

9) Vanuatu Ambassador Claims To Have ‘Facilitated’ $100 Million Project
Goiset offers to ‘renounce’ most of 15% commission owed

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 11, 2013) – Ambassador at Large to the Russian Federation and Eastern Countries, Titam Goiset has confirmed facilitating the negotiation of a USD100 million (over Vt 9 billion) infrastructure project for Vanuatu.

The detail of the project is not yet revealed as the project is yet to be made official by the Government.

Although Goiset is reluctant to talk about the project at this stage, Daily Post received a copy of a letter she wrote to the Prime Minister, Sato Kilman on February 25, 2013 which she mentioned the huge infrastructure project.

The project will be the first to be facilitated by Goiset after her appointment to the diplomatic post in November 2011.

She had since confirmed that letter was genuine but said its purpose is to request from the Prime Minister that the much criticised clause of her contract that entitled her to 15% of any funding that she successfully negotiates or secures for the government be removed.

According to the letter she informed the Prime Minister that she has not “taken a penny of public funds to fund the Embassy, nor have i exercised the clause in my contract re a % of FDI, in relation to the 100 millions USD Chinese concessional funding that my team facilitated, with your support”.

She later told Daily Post she wanted the “15% renounced so the money will go towards students’ scholarships,” saying 15% of such funding is so much money.

“I wanted the entitlement to be renounced and amended to 2 or 3%,” she told Daily Post in an interview this week.

“All I want is the cost to run the Embassy and a success fee,” she added.

But in the letter to the Prime Minister, Goiset who signed an agreement with the Government just last year to be entitled to the 15% commission clearly stated her request that “with immediate effect, the clause in my contract relating to the 15% fee be excised, and my contract be amended to reflect this.

“May I also request your office to confirm that in the exercise of my duties as Ambassador at Large to the Russian Federation and Eastern Countries, I have not taken any public funds nor have I claimed any % of FDI brought.”

The clause, she said, “was inserted into the contract, against my better judgement, since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had no budget to appoint an Ambassador to Russia and Eastern Countries, an important power, and requested that I fund the operation of the Office myself”.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

10) Vanuatu Finance Minister Backs ‘Dili Consensus’
g7+ meeting consensus ‘new deal’ for development goals

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 7, 2013) – Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) Charlot Salwai has backed the Dili Consensus on future development, which emerged from a major global conference held in Timor-Leste last week.

The conference brought together 30 Pacific island delegates as well as representatives from Africa and Asia involved in the g7+ group of nations, to chart a course for the post 2015 development agenda once the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) expire in 2015.

The conference involved hundreds of delegates and was organized and supported by the Timor Leste government, the Pacific institute of Public Policy, UN ESCAP and AusAID.

Minister Salwai was asked to wrap up the first day’s proceedings on behalf of the delegates.

The Dili Consensus is a declaration of a “new deal” on development that incorporates many elements missing from the original MDG approach.

The new approach concentrates on inclusiveness, ownership of the development agenda by those affected and a greater focus on climate change.

According to the Dili Consensus document; “Business as usual is not a viable option. We are no longer on the same development journey that we began on the star of the new millennium. We must build a framework for the next era of global development that is legitimate and relevant, truly reflecting the development aspirations and challenges of people everywhere.

“We intend to use every opportunity to make our voices heard and build on the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States to ensure that there is development for all, by all.”

Minister Salwai said, “I was honored to be involved and to present findings from the first day’s session. The Dili Consensus charts a new path forward for many countries like Vanuatu seeking support, solidarity, better development outcomes and the responsibility of shaping their collective futures.”

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

11) Registration issue keeps super-yacht detained in Vanuatu

Posted at 03:33 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

Almost eight months after it arrived in Vanuatu, the super-yacht The Phocea remains detained by authorities in Port Vila due to lack of proper registration.

After the boat entered Vanuatu without proper clearance, Police and Customs officials inspected the vessel, suspecting it carried contraband.

No contraband was found but false documentation presented on behalf of the crew and boat sparked a series of legal and technical issues which have kept the Phocea in Vanuatu until today despite efforts by the government to allow it to leave.

Johnny Blades reports:

Having brought the Phocea to Vanuatu, shortly after he was appointed as a diplomatic representative for the country, Pascal Ahn Quan Saken is anxious for the boat to leave.

Mr Saken, who has management rights over the boat, says having it detained in Port Vila is costly and also dangerous during the cyclone season.

The naturalised Vanuatu citizen left the country before police brought members of the schooner’s crew and passengers in for questioning.

Crew were prosecuted for breaching the customs, immigration and quarantine act.

The Police Commissioner Arthur Caulton says police have completed investigations into the boarding of the yacht by two government ministers, including the Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot, before the Phocea had been cleared.

“There are matters for two ministers that are still at the court to be heard. But at the moment, it is now up to the Customs Department and Ports & Harbours (Authority) for clearing this vessel to leave Vanuatu.”

The Deputy Director of Operations for Customs, Stanley Trief, says it’s unclear when the Phocea will be allowed to leave.

“Currently it’s detained under the Ports law. So if that is sorted, we can give clearance, but at the moment we haven’t received any clearance for that. So from the Customs side, we won’t give a departure clearance. If everything’s ok, and currently it’s to do with the registration, that’s why the vessel is currently being detained.”

It recently emerged that the Phocea was granted provisional registration by a deputy Commissioner on Vanuatu’s Maritime Technical Advisory Committee, Guy Benard, who claimed that Mr Saken purchased the Maritime Authority shipping registry for 2.5 million US dollars.

The head of Vanuatu’s international shipping registry, Robert Bohn, says the registration is different to that which the Phocea used to travel through Panama en route to Port Vila and was subsequently found to be false.

“The advisory committee issued the provisional registration for a single voyage to the shipyard in Thailand. And once it had been through the shipyard and had all the maintenance done and had its documents updated by the surveyors there in Thailand, then they were going to make application for full registration under the International Shipping Registry.”

However the Finance Minister Charlot Salwai says the new registration is invalid because he suspended the Committee last year.

He says the Maritime Authority which appointed the Committee has been defunct since 2007.

“We should do what’s in line with laws instead of doing something outside the law. The neccessity to appoint a new Advisory Committee… the government is planning to introduce another body to replace the Vanuatu Maritime Authority.”

But Robert Bohn, who is also a government MP, says the Minister is incorrect about the status of the committee.

He has indicated it is still a matter up for discussion at ministerial level but insists the yacht is free to leave any day now.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Vanuatu celebrates Matthew and Hunter anniversary

Posted at 07:19 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

Vanuatu has celebrated the thirty year-anniversary of hoisting the Vanuatu Flag on the Matthew and Hunter Islands in 1983.

The two islands are considered by Vanuatu as part of Tafea Province in the country’s south and under traditional relationships, the indigenous Kanak people of New Caledonia have links to the islands.

However the islands have also been claimed by France which has taken the matter to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in New York.

At a large ceremony at the weekend in Port Vila, Vanuatu’s President Iolu Johnson Abbil awarded medals to members of the first Vanuatu expedition following the gaining of independence in 1980 to raise the country’s flag on Matthew and Hunter.

The expedition was initially prevented from landing at Matthew island by a French warship in 1983 in an incident which set the tone for a dispute between the countries over the two islands which has never been fully resolved.

Radio New Zealand International

13) France’s National Front head to visit New Caledonia
By Online Editor
1:01 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, New Caledonia

The leader of France’s National Front, Marine Le Pen, is due in New Caledonia this week amid her party’s concern for the territory’s future.

The party says political leaders in France need to pay attention as 2014 approaches, when New Caledonia enters the final phase of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

The National Front says it is opposed to the Accord, which provides for a gradual and irreversible transfer of power and a possible referendum on independence after 2014.

Its Noumea secretary says the party wants a strong loyalist front and is decrying the splits within the pro-French camp, which have deepened in recent years.

Le Pen is due to meet a range of leaders during her six-day stay before she flies to French Polynesia next week.

Since the 2009 election, her party has had no seat in the territorial and provincial assemblies.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

14) Leadership crucial: Fiji PM

By Online Editor
10:21 am GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji needs new political parties with new leadership, Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says as the country prepares for the 2014 General Election.

The Prime Minister described leadership as vital in the governance of every country.

He said with the political party re-registration completed, something that had emerged was that some registration signatures were allegedly obtained fraudulently.

“I’m really worried about this especially when this is an act of corruption and my Government has a zero- tolerance on corruption,” the Prime Minister said.

“Do we really want to have corrupt political parties contesting for leadership in the 2014 election?”

The Prime Minister said the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, had strongly denied the allegations.

Commodore Bainimarama said an essential component in the new way forward mapped out by Government was good leadership and his main worry now was the existing political parties lacked good leadership.

“I’ve seen the names of the party officials of the two re-registered parties and they’re the same old politicians who should really retire from politics.”

As for the proposed Social Democratic Liberal party, he said only the name changed but the officials remained the same as the former SDL party.

“My worry is if they lead the country they’ll take the country back,” he said.

Good leaders, he said, should be patriotic, be thinking of the welfare of the country, be ready to sacrifice for the country and be corruption free.

He said Fiji’s future leaders should all have the above qualities to take our country to new heights.

When told of the request from some for him to delay the elections and continue leading the country, the Prime Minister said for far too long developments in the country had been stalled for reasons only known to the then political leaders.

However, his Government they had delivered and they are for the people.

The Government, he said, had listened to what the people needed and positively reacted to it.

“We’re getting the people connected through the developments in rural and urban areas.”

The Prime Minister said Government’s priority now was Fiji’s return to democratic elections in 2014.

He said Government critics had been spreading rumours that there would be no elections and this was expected from these critics. The Prime Minister assured that the country is already on its way to parliamentary democracy.

He said it would be a fairer democracy; a more equal democracy and a democracy that is built to last.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

15) Fiji’s draft constitution ready: PM Bainimarama
By Online Editor
10:28 am GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Fiji

The Fijian government has already prepared a draft constitution that will be presented to the Constituent Assembly.

The draft constitution has been prepared by the government team from the Attorney General’s Office after it was decided that the Constitution Commission draft has to be changed.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama said the draft constitution is now with him.

“The draft has been ready from the last couple of weeks and it’s with me. And as I’ve said we’re waiting for the constituent assembly to put it together,” Commodore Bainimarama told Fiji village.

However Commodore Bainimarama stressed that the members of the Constituent Assembly will only be appointed when all the issues in relation to the registration of proposed parties are completed.

“The constituent assembly will not sit, until we’ve finalized the registration of political parties, as you know, we’ve been highlighting in the media lately, we are having a bit of a problem with the registration of political parties. Some fraud has been highlighted in the registration of these political parties but until political parties have been registered, we cannot go ahead and name the constituent assembly or put together the constituent assembly because it will not be inclusive.”

Meanwhile, Commodore Frank Bainimarama has said that he has a lot to do at the moment and he will decide later on whether he will contest the 2014 general elections.

Commodore Bainimarama said a lot of reforms still need to be completed.

“There has been a lot of requests thrown in my directions for me to stand in the next elections and to be part of a political party. But as I have also said I am preoccupied right now with the constituent assembly, with the constitution. And of course with the reforms, we don’t have much time to complete the reforms that we had decided on.

Just today, the doctors turned up to my office with a lot of issues that would affect the reforms in the ministry of health. Some we can deal with overnight but some would after five years to complete. That’s why with some of the issues we need to look at in terms of reforms that have to be completed by the time we have elections. My time is preoccupied right now with all those reforms and of course the need to have them completed at least by elections because the last thing we want to do is have them changed.”

According to Commodore Bainimarama, he is worried that the proposed parties that have applied for registration are just aiming to get into power to change everything that has been implemented since December 2006.

“I’ve had a look at the some of the members at political parties that are going to stand for the elections and Fiji should be worried about this, about the membership of the political parties.

What are they going to bring to Fiji with regards to the political issues. I fear that most of them are standing just to come and change the things that have put in place in the last four-five years and Fiji should be worried about the caliber of people that are going to stand.

Fiji should be worried about the caliber of political parties that are going to register or that have registered because in some of these people, we could see through them, you know exactly what they going to come and do and who knows, they not going to come and continue with the work that we have been doing in the last four-five years.”

When asked whether he will decide on whether he will contest in the elections next year, he maintains that he will tell the people of Fiji when he is ready.
SOURCE: FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

16) Many reluctant to sit on Fiji Constituent Assembly, says former deputy PM

Posted at 03:33 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

A former Fiji deputy prime minister Dr Tupeni Baba says a lot of people are reluctant to sit on the Constituent Assembly to discuss the country’s draft constitution.

The Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says a draft constitution completed by the Attorney General’s Office has been ready for the past couple of weeks, replacing the draft written by Professor Yash Ghai from the Constitution Commission, which was dumped two months ago.

Dr Baba says some parties applied to sit on the Assembly, assuming they would be discussing Professor Ghai’s draft.

But now, he says, nobody will see the draft until the Constituent Assembly is chosen.

He says whoever is selected will be walking into a trap.

“A lot of people are reluctant to go. They want to know the extent to which the Ghai draft has been amended before they accept an invitation to go there. Because once they accept an invitation to go in, and when they’re in there and find out that the kind of changes that have been made to the Ghai draft are so extensive, they will find it difficult to stay there – they’ll probably walk out.”

Dr Tupeni Baba.

The Prime Minister says the Constituent Assembly, which was due to sit more than two months ago, will be appointed when all issues relating to the registration of proposed parties are addressed.

Radio New Zealand International

17) UN calls for independent investigation into Fiji beating
By Online Editor
1:04 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Fiji

The United Nations has called on the Fijian government to “swiftly and effectively” investigate the beating of two men captured on tape and posted online last week.

It also called for an independent inquiry into the abuse which was shown in a nine minute video, documenting two men being repeatedly beaten with poles, as they lie huddled on the ground handcuffed and screaming in agony.

The video caused outrage across the Pacific, and prompted Fijian authorities to launch an investigation into the incident.

It is understood that the person at the centre of the abuse is escaped prisoner, Iowane Benedito, who was recaptured in November. The second victim is reportedly a man accused of harbouring him.

Sources have told ONE News the men carrying out the beating are army, police and prison officers.

Today the United Nations issued a statement saying it was “shocked by the content” of the video, saying it showed “torture, inhuman and degrading treatment” of the two men.

“While the circumstances surrounding the video have not yet been ascertained, the acts being carried out in it are clearly illegal, and we condemn them in the strongest terms,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

The video, which has since been taken down, shows a handcuffed man being physically and sexually assaulted, beaten and humiliated by a group of men while lying helpless in the back of a pick-up truck.

The terrified man is repeatedly struck on his feet, legs, body and head with a number of different implements, including a length of rubber pipe, a metal rod, a stick and a hammer.

A second handcuffed man is shown sitting on the ground nearby and is also struck on his body, legs and head with a stick and a rod. A dog is encouraged by its handler to seize him by the shirt and drag him several metres across the ground.

The UN statement said it welcomed the commitment by the Fijian police to establish the facts of the case, but went further saying it urged the government to “ensure the apparent serious human rights violations are swiftly and effectively investigated by an impartial and competent authority”, and the findings made public.

“We also call on the authorities to ensure that perpetrators – who are clearly visible in the video and should be easily identifiable – are brought to justice, and that a concerted effort is made to ensure that this type of treatment is not repeated,” Colville said.

“Victims of the abuse must have access to the necessary medical and psychological support, as well as redress.”

He said the UN “stands ready to assist” the Fijian government in its efforts to eradicate torture and ill-treatment of prisoners.

“We will continue to follow this case closely as well as the outcome of the police investigations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says no one condones prisoner brutality, but he stands by his men as they do a job “for you and your family”.

“I stand behind my men, I am a leader, I cannot afford to discard my men after they finished the job done for you and your family,” the Prime Minister told FijiLive.

Bainimarama said a lot of people do not know what the security forces go through as their job is the protection of security in the country.

“That’s what we should worry about more than escaped prisoners and what the escaped prisoners have done to frighten the society,” said Bainimarama.

SOURCE: TVNZ/ FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

18) Bainimarama stands by Fiji Police
By Online Editor
10:20 am GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says no one condones prisoner brutality, but he stands by his men as they do a job “for you and your family”.

Bainimarama was reacting to a nine-minute video clip on the Internet which shows a group of men abusing two tied-up individuals.

It also shows the licence plate of a pick-up truck, on which one of the tied-up men was beaten and stripped.

“I stand behind my men, I am a leader, I cannot afford to discard my men after they finished the job done for you and your family,” the Prime Minister told FijiLive.

Bainimarama said a lot of people do not know what the security forces go through as their job is the protection of security in the country.

“That’s what we should worry about more than escaped prisoners and what the escaped prisoners have done to frighten the society,” said Bainimarama.

“You know the one week they were out or the two weeks, I do not know about all those that are talking but I feel insecure for the people of Fiji especially when they were running around with knives and crowbars.”

“A lot of people do not know some of the insides of what transpired during that period, for instance when the prisoners were out they were listening to mobiles from inside the prisons.”

“So it tells a lot of what needs to be done in our prison system and the Commissioner has his work cut out for him.”.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

Polynesia:

19) Polynesia parliamentary group formed in Tahiti
By Online Editor
4:59 pm GMT+12, 08/03/2013, French Polynesia

The heads of seven Polynesian parliaments have set up a formal group at the behest of the president of French Polynesia’s territorial assembly, Jacqui Drollet.

The inaugural gathering in Tahiti is being attended by the Cook Islands, Niue, Wallis and Futuna, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.

Tokelau and Samoa are not represented.

Tea Hirshon of the ruling pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira Party said Drollet’s initiative wanted to form a body that only includes Polynesians.

“It’s just to strengthen the ties we Polynesians of the moana a kiwa have. It’s just to strengthen the ties and exchange information about our respective parliaments and how they are run.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

20/21) American Samoa senate rejects immigration board measure

Posted at 22:31 on 10 March, 2013 UTC

In American Samoa, the Senate has rejected an administration bill to increase members of the Immigration board from 5-9.

Concerns about the nationality make-up of the board and the divided position from the government on the bill are the main reasons that the bill was killed.

13 senators voted to reject the legislation at the recommendation of the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Soliai Tuipine.

Deputy attorney general Salo Ale raised concerns with a provision of the bill that does not specify the make-up of four of the nine members of the Immigration Board.

At present all five Immigration Board members are nationals of the United States of American Samoa ancestry.

But the new measure says at least five of the members shall be nationals or citizens of the US or American Samoa but does not specify the nationality requirements of the other four members.

Senators worry that this provision would open up the immigration board to individuals who are not of American Samoa ancestry.

Radio New Zealand International

22) New Zealand MP Criticizes Syria’s UN Influence On Tokelau
Goff: decolonization committee representative choice ‘ridiculous’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 7, 2013) – New Zealand’s Opposition has criticized a United Nations body for allowing a Syrian government representative to be able to pass judgment on how the country runs the Pacific territory of Tokelau.

Tokelau, which consists of three atolls north of Samoa, has been a territory of New Zealand since 1926, with sovereignty transferred from the British Government in 1948.

It’s one of 16 countries being investigated by the United Nations Decolonization Committee as part of a move towards self-government.

The foreign affairs spokesman for New Zealand’s Opposition, Phil Goff, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat it’s ridiculous that the rapporteur for that committee is Syria’s UN representative.

“He represents a government that at this very moment busy slaughtering its own people and denying them democracy,” he said.

“I think most New Zealanders and Australians would see a huge irony in having somebody telling us as democratic nations what we should be doing in regard to decolonization representing a government that represents something that is anything but democratic or humane.”

The Syrian permanent representative to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, was unanimously re-elected as special rapporteur for the committee.

Mr. Goff says many countries around the world have been concerned for some time about how representatives are chosen for certain UN bodies.

“There’s be a very good case for making a prerequisite for being on the Human Rights Council that you actually observe the international standards agreed by the member nations of the UN,” he said.

“It is deeply ironic to have representatives of some countries that have nothing about them that is in anyway democratic or respecting of human rights then setting the scene for what other countries should be doing.”

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, is refusing to comment on the issue.

Mr. Goff was a member of the previous New Zealand Government, which held two referenda for the 1,300 people of Tokelau in 2006 and 2007, in which they voted to remain part of New Zealand.

He says there is a process under way to determine if Tokelau should adopt a status of free association with New Zealand, similar to that of the Cook Islands.

“The thing that the people of Tokelau most appreciate is that by virtue of their relationship with New Zealand, they are New Zealand citizens,” he said.

“They have free entry to New Zealand and they’re probably reasonably satisfied with the way things are going in the Tokelau islands at the moment.”

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

Micronesia:

23) Nauru parliament dissolved and election date announced
By Online Editor
3:26 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Nauru

Nauru’s parliament has been dissolved and an election date of 06 April announced.

However, the group of politicians who last week challenged the parliamentary speaker’s adjournment of the assembly are understood to be considering further legal action.

Last week, the Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames QC upheld the eight MPs’ challenge and declared the adjournment by the speaker Ludwig Scotty as unconstitutional.

Radio New Zealand International understands that the challengers, who include a former president, Marcus Stephen, are looking at their legal options with a view to further Supreme Court action.

Sources predict that if that action is upheld both the dissolution of parliament and the announcement of an election date could be declared null and void.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

24) Tong: Questionable Kiribati Passport Sales Ended In 2004
President ‘embarrassed’ that passports sold to weapons dealers

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 7, 2013) – The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says he is embarrassed that his country’s passports were sold to suspected arms dealers from North Korea.

In December human rights activist Ken Kato told the ABC that the Pacific island nation had given passports to North Korean directors of a company which the United Nations says is a front for illegal arms shipping.

Kiribati President Anote Tong says passports were sold to the Chinese in the 1990s as a “means of generating revenue” for his country.

Mr. Tong told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat he put a stop to the passport program soon after he was elected.

“When I came into office in 2003 we cancelled that program because it was something that was not very popular,” he said. “We did not believe it was the right thing to be done.

“But I think that angle with the involvement of North Koreans and particularly with potential terrorist connection was never something we intended to happen nor did we expect it would happen.”

“I can assure you that we had corrected that situation in 2004 when we stopped issuing these passports.”

The Indian island nation of the Seychelles was also alleged to have provided passports to the directors of the Hong Kong-based firm, New East International Trading Limited.

At the time the Seychelles Government said police and financial investigators were looking into the claims.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

Australie:

25) Australia urge to help stop sorcery
By Online Editor
10:19 am GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Australia

A leading Papua New Guinea judge says Australia could help PNG stop the sorcery-related torture and killing of women.

Justice Catherine Davani told an International Women’s Day lunch in Canberra of a spate of torturing and killing of women in PNG suspected of being sorcerers.

Last month, Kepari Leneiata, 20, a young mother who was also known as Angelin, was stripped, tortured with a hot iron poker and burned alive before a crowd of onlookers, including children.

They had accused her of using sorcery to kill a six year-old boy.

The murder triggered international outrage, with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill joining the United Nations, the US and Australia in describing the crime as barbaric.

Justice Davani told the lunch on Friday that Australia could help.

“If AusAID were to assist the PNG government in curbing and alleviating the torturing and killing of women in PNG suspected of being sorcerers, then the suggestion is to assist enhanced investigating powers of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary,” she said.

“Of course, the policemen can be trained on how to enact investigations.”

“I believe very strongly that Australia will be making a major and very useful contribution toward the protection of women and women’s lives if this were done for Papua New Guinea.”

Comment was being sought from AusAID.

As many as 100 people were arrested recently in connection with the horrific burning murder of Ms Leneiata in the Western Highlands city of Mt Hagen.

Police had been under pressure to make arrests after photos in both of PNG’s daily national newspapers appeared to show hundreds of witnesses watching Ms Leneiata burn.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS


New Zealand:

26) NZ businesses on trade and investment mission in Fiji
By Online Editor
2:56 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, New Zealand

A delegation of overseas businesspeople and investors will be in Suva on March 19 to look at trading and investment opportunities in Fiji. The business delegates are keen to engage with local businesses with a view to exploring possibilities during their 3-day stay in the country.

The mission comprises 12 established and successful businesspeople based in New Zealand with business links in the region as well as outside. Coming from wide ranging business backgrounds, the delegates are interested in real estate, hospitality, tourism, agribusiness, publishing and media, manufacturing, timber, forestry, commodity trading, information technology, the textile, clothing and footwear sector besides knowledge management and education fields.

The trade and investment mission has been organised by the New Zealand office of Pacific Islands Trade & Invest, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s trade body and the High Commission of Fiji in New Zealand with local support from Investment Fiji, Fiji’s trade and export promotion agency.

Some of the delegates are already trading and doing business in Fiji and would like to consider other opportunities to expand their business links. It would be an excellent opportunity for Fiji businesspeople and entrepreneurs to interact with the delegates during the visit.

The delegates will conduct presentations about their businesses and their specific interest in Fiji at a session at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel at 2-30 pm on Tuesday, March 19.

Businesspeople and entrepreneurs desirous of attending these presentations and meeting with the businesspeople and investors are requested to register their interest by emailing Manuel Valdez at manuel.v@pacifictradeinvest.com before noon on Friday, 15 March.

SOURCE: PACIFIC TRADE INVEST/PACNEWS


Pacific (Pasifik):

27) On-line registry boosts Pacific law reform efforts, says expert

Posted at 01:44 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

An economist says the Pacific is the world leader in law reform in favour of private businesses, thanks to a new online registry project.

Dr Paul Holden, the lead economist on the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, is speaking at a workshop today in Auckland organised by the Asian Development Bank.

The bank’s project is aimed at helping small and large private business owners to register and operate more easily, with the help of an online company register.

Dr Holden says the project has already begun in seven Pacific nations, and addresses the need for the private sector to play a bigger role in Pacific economies.

“For us it’s very exciting because we’re really at very early days yet. We have done the reforms, we haven’t quite finished implementing them, but already we are seeing results in terms of more loans. We are seeing results in terms of people for whom forming a company was out of reach.”

Dr Paul Holden says the project has been particularly successful in Solomon Islands and Samoa and is set to assist Tonga, Vanuatu and others.

Radio New Zealand International

28) Pacific Trade Office ready to assit Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
12:57 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, New Zealand

The Pacific Islands Trade and Investment (PITI) office in Auckland, New Zealand, is ready to assist Solomon Islands Government and the private sector tap into New Zealand’s trade and export market.

Trade Commissioner of the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment,  Adam Denniss made the assurance when welcoming Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, Hon Clay Forau Soalaoi and his delegation to the PITI office last Friday.

Minister Forau and his delegation visited the PITI office to see the kind of activities and work it does and how the office could assist Solomon Islands Government and the private sector gain access to the New Zealand market.

Denniss told Minister Forau that PITI is under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and serves all the member countries of the Forum, including Solomon Islands.

He encourages Solomon Islands to take advantage of the office and its range of activities, including attachments, marketing, research and information on the New Zealand market.

Foreign Minister Forau thanked the Trade Commissioner saying Solomon Islands looks forward to working closely with the PITI office to assist the Solomon Islands Government and the private sector wishing to gain access and information into the New Zealand market.

“Such an office is important in assisting Pacific Island countries, including Solomon Islands, to have at their disposal, accurate and reliable information and data as well as statistics on the New Zealand market, which may be useful for their work,”  Forau said.

Forau encourages Solomon Islands businesses and officials to take advantage of the Auckland Trade office for their business and trade enquiries.

The Auckland office is under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat which also has an office in Sydney, Australia.

Minister Forau and his Deputy Secretary, Bernard Bata’anisia was in Auckland last week where he also addressed the New Zealand Pacific Business Council.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS


29) Forum Secretariat confirms staff members have ceased all work until clearance from Fiji foreign office

By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Fiji

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat says its liasing with Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address issues relating to the work permit and visa exemptions of two senior officers, who are believed to have breached their work visas.

“In adhering to the laws of Fiji as well as the Forum Secretariat’s legal responsibilities as an international organisation, these staff members have ceased all work-related activities while awaiting clearance from the Ministry, said a brief statement issued by the Secretariat in response to a PACNEWS article today.

PACNEWS was reliably informed that two senior officers, whose work contracts expired last year were still engaged by the Suva Secretariat, without visa exemption and work permit clearance from Fiji’s Foreign office.

“We remain confident that all parties will come to an amicable solution very soon. In the meantime, arrangements have been put in place so that the Secretariat’s services to Members remain uninterrupted, said the Forum Secretariat statement.

PACNEWS has been reliably informed that Fiji’s foreign ministry has given one of the staff to leave the country within 24 hours.

One of them breached his work permit when he pursued a Masters programme at the University of the South Pacific, a clear breach of his working permit, PACNEWS was told.

In addition, the Pacific Islands Forum failed to inform the Fijian foreign ministry that their contracts have been extended for a few months. Both the officers are believed to be currently acting in other senior positions.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

30) Pacific Church Leaders Urged To Be Environmental Stewards
Theologian says churches must address regional climate change

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 7, 2013) – Pacific church leaders attending the 10th Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) in Honiara, Solomon Islands have been challenged to be good stewards of the environment.

Senior lecturer in Theology and Ethics at the Fiji-based Pacific Theological College, Solomon Islander Dr. Cliff Bird made the challenge during his presentation at the conference.

“The need to address pressing environmental issues from a theological perspective, which the scriptures are silent about or do not address, is necessary,” Dr. Bird said.

“Climate change, global warming, sea-level rise and sinking islands are current issues of major concern in Oceania which the bible does not address.

“For many people within Oceania these are issues of life and death which call for our involvement,” he added.

Dr. Bird said the church needs to take stewardship towards the environment, in particular the issue of climate change.

“Stewardship is a must and there are no two ways about this. It is absolutely necessary and unavoidable, and in the context of this assembly, churches and all stakeholders are obliged to exercise stewardship starting in localities where they find themselves.”

He said leaders in the various sectors of our island nations, governments, churches, NGO and civil society groups have expressed concern that we in Oceania contribute very minimally toward global warming and climate change and yet we are amongst the most affected and vulnerable.

“This can be seen in the immediate effects of climate change and experienced more in some countries and less in others, but is known to many of us that the low-lying atoll island nations within Oceania.

“This includes Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tokelau, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands and even the low lying atolls of bigger island nations such as Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea or Ontong Java and Lord Howe in Solomon Islands are most vulnerable to climate change.”

Dr. Bird said climate change is a global phenomenon so global stewardship approaches and actions are the way to go.

“However, its negative and destructive impacts are seen and experienced locally in the island nations of our region.

“While the push for better and bolder stewardship strategic actions and networks at the global level must continue, the stewardship role of churches at the local level must come to the fore of ecumenical consciousness, vision, understanding and partnership.

“It is sad to say but many PCC member churches in the bigger island nations of Oceania do not give the necessary attention and priority to climate change impacts that are threatening the very lives of thousands of brothers and sisters in our ecumenical family.

“Thus, climate change calls for our ecumenical stewardship solidarity and in the immediate scenario, this means putting priority to assist the most vulnerable in perhaps small but practical and meaningful ways.”

He added in the present time the most vulnerable countries are working on mitigation measures and actions to try to minimize the negative and destructive effects of sea level rises.

“Take for example Kiribati: replanting of mangroves began in 2010 and one high profile personality who helped in the planting of mangroves was/is the Secretary General of the United Nations.

“Ecumenical stewardship solidarity for such mitigating action might mean sending some money to the Kiribati Protestant Church and the Catholic Church there to help plant an additional or two mangroves along the shorelines.

“Stewardship of resources must, as a matter of urgency and necessity be jointly seen and accepted as the role of governments, churches as well as environmental NGO’s and civil society groups in our region.”

Dr. Bird said for the church, the following three areas are worth our consideration:

Revisit our use of language. The educational, creative and transformative power of language must never be underestimated ever.
Actively participate in forums and processes as ways and means to inform and educate communities on critical issues such as land reforms, resource use and management.
Revisit, strengthen and expand our understanding of and commitment to ‘home’. In our churches we must strive to inculcate and nurture the view and vision that as a metaphor home (oikos) does not end where the house or residence ends.

Solomon Star

Franis:

31a) Fidji: un nouveau brouillon de Constitution

Posté à 11 March 2013, 13:29 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

La nouvelle mouture a été demandée par Franck Bainimarama à son Garde des Sceaux.

Il y a d’abord eu la copie de la Commission Constitutionnelle, que le Premier ministre par intérim a mise à la poubelle mi-janvier. Il n’a en effet pas apprécié ce brouillon qui prévoyait un article excluant les militaires de toute charge politique. Et Franck Bainimarama a encore moins apprécié l’article prévoyant la dissolution de son gouvernement, pour être remplacé par un gouvernement transitionnel six mois avant les élections prévues en 2014.

Franck Bainimarama a donc fait remanier le texte par son Garde des Sceaux, Ayez Sayed Khayium. Il reste secret pour l’instant. Prochaine étape : son examen par l’Assemblée Constituante, qui était censée débuter ses travaux il y a deux mois.

Le Premier ministre fidjien promet de la mettre en place dès que l’enregistrement des partis politiques sera achevé. Il affirme qu’il y a eu des fraudes. En janvier il a pris un décret durcissant drastiquement les conditions d’existence des partis politiques. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-11/fidji-un-nouveau-brouillon-de-constitution/1099738

31b) Le pasteur François Pihaatae à la tête de la Conférence des Eglises du Pacifique

Mis à jour 11 March 2013, 13:32 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

A Honiara, l’assemblée générale de la PCC a réitéré son soutien aux indépendantistes papous et polynésiens.

Le Tahitien, membre de l’Eglise Protestante Maohi de Tahiti, était déjà secrétaire-général par intérim depuis la démission de Fe’iloakitau Tevi en décembre 2011. Il a été élu haut la main avec 58 voix devant le révérend salomonais Cliff Bird, 35 voix, et le pasteur tongien Simote Vea, 9 voix.

La 10ème assemblée générale de la PCC s’est achevée dimanche sur une série de résolutions. La Conférence des Eglises du Pacifique a appelé la France, l’ONU, les pays du Pacifique et la communauté internationale à soutenir le droit à l’autodétermination de la Polynésie française.

Elle a aussi annoncé la création d’un groupe de travail sur les violations des droits de l’homme et le mouvement indépendantiste en Papouasie Occidentale. Enfin la PCC crée un dima- http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-11/le-pasteur-françois-pihaatae-à-la-tête-de-la-conférence-des-eglises-du-pacifique/1099740

32) PNG: comparution de 18 demandeurs d’asile

Mis à jour 11 March 2013, 15:58 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Ces 17 hommes et une femme originaires d’Iran, d’Irak et du Sri Lanka ont été arrêtés jeudi par la police papoue. Puis relâchés sous caution et ramenés au centre de détention ouvert sur l’île de Manus par l’Australie.

Le centre de détention des demandeurs d’asile de l’Australie est toujours composé de tentes. (Credit: AAP)

Ils sont accusés de coups et blessures, de menaces et de tentative d’évasion. Et passeront devant les juges du tribunal de Larengau, la capitale de la province de Manus, dans le courant de la journée.

Les faits remontent à deux incidents séparés. Le premier a eu lieu au Réveillon de Noël l’an dernier. Des tensions ont dégénéré en bagarre dans la salle Internet du centre de détention. Bilan : des blessés légers, quelques lampes brisées et un jet de noix de coco.

Et puis le 13 janvier, trois demandeurs d’asile ont réussi à s’évader, mais ils ont à peine eu le temps de se jeter dans la mer qu’ils ont été repris.
Le seul et unique responsable de ces tensions au sein du centre de détention des demandeurs d’asile, c’est bien l’Australie, estime Ian Rintoul, porte-parole de la Coalition de l’Action pour les Réfugiés, une ONG australienne de défense des demandeurs d’asile:

«Les gens sont parqués dans un centre où les conditions de vie sont scandaleuses, et je pense que les vrai responsables de ces tensions permanente, ce ne sont pas les demandeurs d’asile, mais bien le gouvernement australien.»

La police papoue n’est intervenue ni dans la bagarre de la salle Internet, ni dans la tentative d’évasion, ne sachant pas si le centre de détention installé par l’Australie relève de sa juridiction. Un porte-parole du Ministère australien de l’Immigration a précisé la semaine dernière que l’Australie soutient l’application de la loi papoue dans le centre de détention de Manus.

En tout cas la descente de la police papoue réjouit le député de Manus, Ronny Knight, qui critiquait le laxisme de l’Australie et du gouvernement papou:

«Si vous bafouez la loi papoue, vous devez répondre de vos actes devant nos juges. Et je pense qu’il était temps que ces gens soient inquiétés. Les demandeurs d’asile commettent des infractions mineures tous les jours au centre de détention, des insultes, des gros mots, du vandalisme, des petites choses comme ça, mais il faut juger les gens pour éviter que cela ne se reproduise.»

Il a fallu plus d’un mois à la police pour se décider à intervenir. Et pour Ian Rintoul c’est clair, c’est l’Australie qui a actionné en sous-main les forces de l’ordre papoues :

«C’est honteux, le ministère australien de l’immigration applique ce qui est prévu par le livret de gestion des demandeurs d’asile. Il veut faire peur aux demandeurs d’asile, ça n’a rien à voir avec la justice.»

Ian Rintoul répondait à Liam Fox sur Radio Australie.

Notons qu’une autre polémique a éclaté la semaine dernière au sujet du centre de détention de Manus, l’opposition australienne accusant le gouvernement d’avoir mal pensé le fonctionnement du camp. Scott Morrisson, le porte-parole des Libéraux, dénonce la promiscuité des familles et des femmes seules avec les hommes célibataires, ce qui selon lui est propice aux tensions. Le ministère de l’immigration, lui, assure que les deux populations sont séparées par un mur de plaques de fer.

Plus de 270 demandeurs d’asile vivent sous des tentes au centre de détention. Et depuis le début de l’année, plus de 1500 nouveaux demandeurs d’asile ont atteint les eaux australiennes, à bord de 28 bateaux.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/french/2013-03-11/png-comparution-de-18-demandeurs-dasile/1099726

Education:

33) Kiribati government researching student loan scheme

Posted at 03:33 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

The Ministry of Education in Kiribati says it is researching the way it funds its student loan scheme in response to a request from students who have missed out on tertiary scholarships.

A Senior Education Officer at the Ministry, Danietta Apisai, says officials are closely consulting and reviewing loan schemes in New Zealand and Australia.

Ms Apisai says the Government is this year paying for 90 students to study at the University of the South Pacific in both Tarawa and Fiji.

The New Zealand and Australian embassies also fund some Kiribati students with scholarships to study in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, but they do not offer loans.

New Zealand Scholarship Officer Bereti Bureimoa says recipients of scholarships are required to complete their studies and return to work for the government in Kiribati.

Radio New Zealand International

34) Unitech vice-chancellor deported from PNG again

Posted at 07:19 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

The vice-chancellor of Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology has expressed frustration after being deported from the country for the second time in a month.

Albert Schram has had a year long battle with the University Council which, despite having been replaced by the government, has effected his deportation by making what Dr Schram says were false statements to immigration officials.

Immigration officials refused the Dutch national entry to Port Moresby last month while issues surrounding Mr Schram’s appointment and the University Council were being addressed.

Dr Schram attempted to enter PNG again last week but was refused entry, and was told he needed to apply for a new visa and work permit.

However he says he never had trouble entering PNG during the past year on his current visa.

Dr Schram, who has significant support from students and the staff at Unitech in Lae, says he wants to return because he feels he has a mission to help the troubled institution.

Radio New Zealand International

35) Scientists Find 80 New Species Along PNG’s Hindenburg Wall
Coordinator calls area ‘one of the most bio-diverse spots on the planet’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 11, 2013) – Scientists say they have discovered one of the wonders of the natural world in Papua New Guinea.

The scientists spent four weeks surveying the Hindenburg Wall – a 50-kilometre stretch of spectacular limestone escarpments in the far west.

They say they could have found 80 new species of plants and animals.

Project coordinator Nathan Whitmore says it could be one of the most bio-diverse spots on the planet.

Among the images captured on hidden cameras is what could be the world’s smallest wallaby.

Several species of rats were also collected.

One of them is larger than a small dog.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

36) Am. Samoa’s Native Duck Subject Of Conservation Push
Pacific Black Duck populations reportedly on decline

By B. Chen

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, March 7, 2013) – The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) is working hard to acquire baseline data so they can move forward with the conservation and management of the Pacific Black Duck, which is American Samoa’s only native duck.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries through an email correspondence to DMWR Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, DMWR wildlife biologist Mark MacDonald explained that the Pacific Black Duck Recovery Project, spearheaded by DMWR, is to determine the population status of this species in American Samoa, identify critical areas of habitat, and obtain information on factors limiting population.

According to MacDonald, two dozen ducks were observed on Aunu’u last fall, the highest number recorded in recent years; “And that likely constitutes the majority of the population.”

MacDonald said it is unclear whether all these birds are year-round residents, or travel between other South Pacific islands; but ducklings have been observed on Aunu’u, “which tells us at least some Pacific Black Ducks breed here.”

With regards to population, the DMWR wildlife biologist said, “Our monitoring program will give us details on population dynamics and movements, so we are better able to answer this question.”

MacDonald reports that the largest concentrations of ducks have been observed in the two lakes on Aunu’u where they dabble for algae, aquatic vegetation, and aquatic invertebrates.

“They are also seen in groups of 3 – 4 in the seasonal wetland areas around Tutuila, such as Malaeloa and Leone, when consistent rains have filled these small ponds and waterways,” he said.

When asked if the Pacific Black Duck is endangered, MacDonald replied that they are not currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their extensive distribution throughout the South Pacific. “They are, however, declining in many parts of their range and it is important to conserve wildlife at the local level to prevent species from ever requiring listing.”

He said here in American Samoa, Pacific Black Ducks are very rare and at severe risk of total extermination without increased research and management.

So do these birds pose a threat to the island as far as humans, animals, and plants are concerned? MacDonald explained that the Pacific Black Duck is a native bird which has most likely inhabited the territory far longer than people, and co-existed with other flora and fauna for thousands of years.

“They pose no threat to human health,” he assured.

When asked if there are any benefits of having these birds around, MacDonald replied, “Ducks are known dispersers of plant seeds and provide other unique functions to the eco-systems they inhabit. Healthy and resilient ecosystems are those diverse in species richness, making the conservation of each ecosystem component important to the overall well-being of that environment.”

“Currently, American Samoa is the only U.S. state or territory where the Pacific Black Duck can be observed in the wild, making this tiny population quite special. Many also believe that species have an inherent right to exist without providing any sort of benefit to people,” MacDonald noted.

More information on the Pacific Black Duck Recovery Program can be obtained by contacting Mark MacDonald or DMWR Tech. Ace Mauga at 633-4456.

The Samoa News: http://www.samoanews.com/

37) USP Students Association makes submission for reduction of fees
By Online Editor
4:48 pm GMT+12, 08/03/2013, Fiji

The University of the South Pacific Students Association has made submissions to the USP management asking for the 5% increase in tuition fees to be reduced as it is becoming a big burden for many students and their parents.

Association Chairperson, Poasa Veidreyaki hopes the students’ voices will be heard as the sponsored students have also been affected with their sponsors reducing some allowances.

Many students have also raised concern that there is a lack of space in lecture and tutorial rooms, and there are many cases of students standing at the back of the rooms or are even standing outside the rooms.

Veidreyaki said the issues have been raised and the USP management has assured the students association that they will conduct a space audit and see whether action has to be taken.

The association has also raised the high prices of text books.

SOURCE: FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

Health+

38) Men and boys also victims of violence in PNG
By Online Editor
3:19 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Papua New Guinea

Men and boys are also victims of gender violence, a study has found.

The study was organised and supported by the United Nations Development Program, the National AIDS Council Secretariat and the Department for Community Development to assess the readiness of service providers to deliver HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence services.

It was conducted between 2010 and 2011 in Western Highlands, Chimbu, East Sepik, Madang and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to assess the services across health, justice and social health sectors in the country to implement GBV and HIV programmes.

Services included in the study have established response to physical, sexual and emotional abuse of women by their husbands, partners, sexual assault by non-partners and the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children.

The findings were compiled and put together in a report titled “Gender-Based Violence/HIV Services Delivery Readiness Assessment Report” that was launched in Port Moresby last Friday, coinciding with International Women’s Day.

It was reported that although the majority of the victims were women and girls of all ages, men and boys were also both direct and indirect victims.

The report stated that the effects of all forms of violence against both genders were physical and psychological, and had long-term consequences for the victims and their communities.

“Violence against women is common in PNG and increases the risk of HIV and men who have sex with men (MSM) are also at risk,” principal researcher Ione Lewis said when presenting the key findings and recommendations of the report.

“Because of the strong link between gender-based violence and HIV, there is a need for effective services,” he said.

Lewis pointed out the gender-based violence and HIV services were unevenly distributed and not always accessible to people who needed those them.

She reported the agencies which she and her team visited in the towns and districts of those selected provinces were under resourced and had limited or no services at all for MSM, children living with HIV and lacked post exposure prophylaxis drug for rape victims.

Some of the recommendations included:

*The need for more drop-in centre for GBV victims in all provinces;
*Child-friendly space for victims of physical and sexual violence; and
*The need for police to investigate reported cases.

Lewis said several faith-based organisations and non-government organisations provided services for people living with HIV, and that safe houses for women, including orphanages for children, were without much resources.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS


Climate Change+:


39) Tropical Cyclone alert in place for New Caledonia’s north

Posted at 07:19 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

A tropical cyclone alert is now in force for the northenmost parts of New Caledonia as Cyclone Sandra edges near the French territory.

Cyclone Sandra is nearing the northern islands of Belep where the alert is in force, as well as in Poum, in the north of New Caledonia’s main island.

According to Meteo France, the system’s centre is expected to track about 120 kilometres to the west of Belep overnight.

Meanwhile, a pre-alert is in place for the rest of New Caledonia regarding Cyclone Sandra.

It has sustained winds of 180 kilometres an hour close to its centre, with gusts of up to 260 kilometres an hour.

It is forecast to move slowly in a south-easterly direction, parallel to the main island’s west coast, and weaken.

Radio New Zealand International

40) Earthquakes strike off northern PNG

Posted at 01:47 on 11 March, 2013 UTC

The Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea has been struck by two major earthquakes today.

No damage has been reported so far and there is no threat of a tsunami.

The US Geological Survey says the first quake, a magnitude 5.5, struck 135 kilometres southwest of Kokopo, the East New Britain provincial capital, in the night.

A 6.7 magnitude one later struck 150 kilometres east of Lae at a depth of 87 kilometres.

Dulcie Logo, from the Kokopo Village Resort, says the earthquake was very short and sharp.

“It didn’t do any damage, it just shook the place and everybody was awakened by the shake.”

Dulcie Logo.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Sports:


41) Fiji FA to announce U20 team

By Online Editor
1:07 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Fiji

The Fiji Football Association is expected to announce the final 20-member Fiji Under-20 team for the Oceania Football Confederation U20 playoffs this week.

The Ravinesh Kumar-coached Fiji Under-20 side will face champion Vanuatu team Amicale FC in a warm-up match at Govind Park in Ba on Friday.

The Fiji U20 side has been playing warm-up matches against Ba and Lautoka in preparation for the regional tournament.

Last Thursday the Fiji U20 team drew 1-all with Lautoka at Churchill Park. Vatukoula goalkeeper Tevita Koroi impressed for the Fiji Under-20 team during the match.

The former Drasa Secondary School student made numerous fine saves.

The coaching staff of both teams sent in their best line-up before substituting players to test the different combinations.

After a scoreless first half, Valerio Nawatu broke the deadlock for the host team with a close range attempt.

Lautoka goalkeeper Jone Sorolo who also played gallantly miss judged a free-kick to allow the Fiji U20 team to draw level.

Sorolo was in the wrong position as former Tavua rep Jone Salauneune curled the ball in over the defensive wall from out of the box.

Fiji U20 included Nadi duo Rusiate Matirerega and Napolioni Qasevakatini while Alvin Avinesh, Mitieli Namuka, Zibraaz Sahid, Noa Vukica, Jone Kaloutani, Dave Radrigai, Asombe Hendry Uche, Ali Chigozie Anthoney and Joape Mudre featured for Lautoka.

Fiji Football Association vice-president and national team director Tarunesh Reddy said they had good hit outs against Ba and Lautoka.

“The team has been training three times a day in Ba,” Reddy said.

“The focus is on building the combinations. We will play more warm-up games. The results of these games do not matter much as we want to test the best possible combinations.”

The national U20 team will begin their campaign against Vanuatu at Churchill Park on March 21. Fiji’s second game will be against New Caledonia on March 23 at Churchill Park while the third game will be against New Zealand on March 27 at the same venue.

The tournament proper will move to Govind Park on March 29 with Fiji facing Papua New Guinea. The winner of the OFC U20 playoffs will qualify for the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey from June 21-July 13.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

42) UNOSDP offers patronage to Pacific Youth and Sport Conference

By Online Editor
1:08 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, New Caledonia

The 2013 Pacific Youth and Sport Conference has earned the ultimate acknowledgement for its activities following the United Nations special advisor to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) Wilfried Lemke’s offer of patronage.

Along with his patronage, Lemke has confirmed he will attend the opening of the second Pacific Youth and Sport Conference (PYASC) being held from 2-6 December, 2013 in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The UN places importance on the role sport can play in the promotion of education, health, development and peace.

“Sport unites people of all social classes, cultures, religions and backgrounds in a positive and educational way.”

“As an initiative of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), with the New Caledonian government and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Pacific Youth and Sports Conference is aimed at providing the tools and skills necessary to use sport as an effective tool to promote education, health and social inclusion in the Pacific region,” Lemke said.

Receiving the patronage of Lemke and the UNOSDP is a huge accomplishment for the conference’s co-conveners and is reward for the hard work being done behind the scenes by PYASC CEO Franck Castillo.

The OFC and the Football Federation Australia, through the Just Play Programme, receives support from the Australian Aid Program as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC), being the Australian Government nominee on the UN Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDPIWG), maintains strong ties with the UN.

It was through these linkages that the ASC International Sport for Development director Sophie Beauvais was able to introduce Castillo to UNOSDP head of office Poul Hansen and orchestrate a meeting between the two.

In December 2012 Castillo travelled to Geneva to meet Hansen and explain the Just Play Programme, the work currently being carried out in the Pacific, and inform him about PYASC.

“Hansen’s response was that PYASC sounded like a great event and he expressed an interest in having his office involved in some way. I suggested Mr Lemke’s attendance would be an important way to offer their support,” Castillo said.

“When I developed the Just Play Programme I used the UNODSP recommendations on how to use sport to help achieve the Millennium Goals, and I told Poul that was the inspiration behind the design of our programme.”

The Millennium Goals are eight international development goals, including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and empowering women, and achieving universal primary education, which were established following the Millennium Summit of the UN in 2000. All 193 UN member states and at least 23 international organisations have agreed to achieve these goals by 2015.

Following Castillo’s visit, president of the New Caledonia government Harold Martin sent a letter inviting Lemke to attend the conference which was accepted and lead to his patronage.

“Through participation in the conference, 1000 young leaders will gain useful knowledge regarding sport for development. With their new found expertise, it is the hope that the participant can implement effective sports programmes in their local community, and have a positive impact on all of the important local youth issues,” Lemke said.

“I am very much looking forward to attending the 2nd Pacific Youth and Sports Conference. I wish the organisers and participants all the best as you prepare for this event in December. This conference will be a great platform to exchange experiences and discuss the use of different sporting approaches to the community,” he concluded.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

43) Brumbies power on in Super Rugby as Chiefs falter
By Online Editor
1:05 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Australia

Jake White’s ACT Brumbies swept aside the New South Wales Waratahs to extend their lead at the top of rugby’s Super 15 series as defending champions Waikato Chiefs lost for the first time this weekend.

The Brumbies, rocked by a potential season-ending knee injury to Wallaby breakdown ace David Pocock, smashed the Waratahs in a bonus point 35-6 win to charge to a six-point lead at the top of the southern hemisphere provincial championship.

The Coastal Sharks took the lead in the South African conference and second place overall following their 21-12 victory over derby rivals Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

The Chiefs, who beat the Sharks in last year’s final, lost ground going down 36-34 to the Western Stormers in a thriller in Cape Town, but came away with two bonus points to lead the New Zealand conference ahead of the Auckland Blues’ match with the Northern Bulls later Sunday.

The 2011 champions Queensland Reds kept in touch with the leaders with a 23-13 win over the Rebels in an Australian derby in Melbourne.

Seven-time champions Canterbury Crusaders have yet to win this season after falling 29-28 to the Hurricanes in Wellington, while South Africa’s Central Cheetahs won their first game of the campaign against the Otago Highlanders 36-19.

In Canberra, the Brumbies paid a big price for their thumping win over the Waratahs with prized recruit Pocock suffering a serious knee injury early in the first half, with initial fears that he will be out of rugby for six months.

If scans confirm the early diagnosis the Wallaby ball poacher will be sidelined for the remainder of the Super 15 season and the June-July Tests against the British and Irish Lions in Australia.

Pocock’s misfortune took some of the gloss off a dominant Brumbies performance as they mastered the Waratahs four tries to nil and did not concede a point in the second half after leading 21-6 at halftime.

Patrick Lambie scored all the points for the Sharks as they won a fiery, try-less South African derby with newcomers Southern Kings.

The Springbok flyhalf succeeded with his six penalty attempts and his drop goal off a post gave the visitors a 12-3 half-time advantage.

At Newlands, the Stormers withstood a stoppage-time attack from the Chiefs for an important win.

Chiefs staged a multi-phase assault that took them close to the Stormers’ ’22’ when they were penalised at a ruck and fullback Joe Pietersen ended the match by booting the ball into touch.

The Queensland Reds came from behind in Melbourne to beat the Rebels in a two tries to one performance, Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper proving the difference with two conversions and three penalties.

The Hurricanes got their Super 15 season back on track with a nail-biting win over the Crusaders.

The Crusaders scored four tries to two but poor discipline cost them the match as they gifted the Hurricanes five penalties to nil, creating an opening for a Wellington outfit smarting from two successive defeats.

Johan Goosen kicked the Cheetahs to an historic first victory in seven attempts over the Highlanders in Invercargill.

There were three tries each, including a hat-trick for Highlanders’ wing Kade Poki, but the telling difference were the 21 points from Goosen, who never missed a shot at goal.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

44) Hong Kong set for biggest ever Sevens party
By Online Editor
1:10 pm GMT+12, 11/03/2013, Hong Kong

With just two weeks to go, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union is readying itself to welcome 28 international teams to take part in the biggest ever Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on 22-24 March 2013.

In anticipation of its biggest ever Sevens party, the HKRFU is inviting fans to rate their favourite ‘Songs of the Sevens’ and suggest new anthems to be played as an accompaniment to the weekend’s action.

Fans can visit the official Hong Kong Sevens and Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Facebook pages to vote for their favourites with Korean artist Psy’s “Gangnam Style” an early front-runner for inclusion over Sevens weekend.

As in 2012, the 2013 Hong Kong Sevens will host two competitions, a 16-team HSBC Sevens World Series competition for the 15 current core teams plus HSBC Asian Sevens Series champions, Hong Kong, and a 12-team pre-qualification tournament, from which four will proceed to London where they will try to win promotion to World Series core team status for the 2013/14 season.

The 16 teams participating in the core competition are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States, Wales and Hong Kong.

The remaining 12 teams in the pre-qualifier hail from all over the world with two teams from each of the IRB’s regions. Tonga and the Cook Islands represent Oceania; Georgia and Russia represent Europe; Zimbabwe and Tunisia add to the African contingent; Mexico and Jamaica hail from North America and Caribbean and Uruguay and Brazil represent South America.

Closer to home, the Hong Kong Sevens continues its role as the showcase event for Asian rugby with the region’s second and third-ranked sevens teams, Japan and Chinese Taipei, rounding out the regional participants.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

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