Category Archives: Human Rights

NEC approves 5yr extension for registration of land groups

 
October 20, 2017 
Source: The National
 
 
THE National Executive Council (NEC) has approved a five-year extension for the registration of Integrated Land Groups(ILGs).
 
Lands and Physical Planning Minister Justin Tkatchenko told The National that it would be welcomed by the business community, especially in the agriculture sector, resources sectors and industries.
 
The extension is expected to give time to landowners to clearly identify their land.
 
The deadline lapsed in February.
 
“NEC has approved for the five-year extension for the ILGs to be identified and certified as requested by the industry and business houses, especially the New Britain Oil Palm, Mineral Resources Development Corporation, Oil Search and the big companies that deal with landowners in their developments and activities,” he said.
 
“Whether it’s agriculture, mining or development, whatever the area is, the ILGs can now be properly and correctly identified.”
 
Tkatchenko said a lot of ILGs had still not been clearly identified when the deadline lapsed eight months ago.
 
“Customary landowners and ownership of this ILGs have not been properly identified,” he said.
 
“So there was a request for the business side of things and for our big corporate companies that deal with customary land and landowners in our country.”
 
Tkatchenko said it was part of the 100-day plan that Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel had put forward.
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Death Row Inmates Denied Full Protection Of The Law

Source: Post-Courier

 

 

The Court, presided over by Justice David Cannings, in a 53 page judgment and report of the Inquiry, concluded that all prisoners sentenced to death in PNG are being denied the full protection of the law, contrary to the Constitution of the country.

 
And he has ordered a stay of any execution of prisoners who have been sentenced to death until their rights under the constitution are fully complied with.

 
The Court which commenced the proceedings on its own initiative, styled as an inquiry into human rights of prisoners sentenced to death, was to, identify which prisoners have been sentenced to death, identify what human rights they have and whether those rights are being afforded to them and examine the role of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy.

 

 
Five respondents, who are senior office-holders in the criminal justice system, assisted the Court in its inquiry, they were the Principal Legal Adviser and Attorney-General, the Public Solicitor, the Public Prosecutor, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service and the Registrar of the National Court and Supreme Court.

 
Justice Cannings in his judgment discussed 10 questions which included the Courts jurisdiction to conduct the inquiry, the procedures used, What offences attract the death penalty? What is the method of execution of a person sentenced to death? Who has been sentenced to death? What human rights do prisoners sentenced to death have? What is the role of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy? What is the present status of those on death row? Are the human rights of prisoners sentenced to death being afforded to them? and what declarations or orders should the court make?

 
The most serious concern raised in the judgment by Justice Cannings is the absence of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy which the court found to have become defunct and accordingly made a declaration to that effect. “There has been a failure over an extended period on the part of the National Government, in particular the National Executive Council, to comply with the duty to facilitate appointments of members of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy and to provide it with staff and facilities. The Committee has become defunct. This leaves all prisoners on death row with no effective opportunity to invoke their right to the full protection of the law by applying for the exercise of the power of mercy.”

 
“This has created a gap in the criminal justice system. It involves a breach of the Constitution and an infringement of human rights which must be remedied as a matter of priority.”

 
Other matters of concern raised are the apparent failure of the Correctional Service to ensure that prisoners sentenced to death are given special care and treatment in accordance with Section 105 of the Correctional Service Regulation and the lengthy delays in implementation of the death penalty.

 
The court ordered that the National Executive Council shall, by January 1, 2018, facilitate appointments of members of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy and ensure that all arrangements are made, staff and facilities are provided and steps are taken to enable and facilitate, as far as may reasonably be, the proper and convenient performance of its functions and that there shall be no execution of any prisoner who has been sentenced to death, irrespective of whether his appeal and review rights have been exhausted.

Stop Police Brutality

BY MICHAEL ARNOLD

There will not be any deviation to the major principle of “zero tolerance” in regards to brutality by the Police Force.

This was emphasised yesterday by the office of the Police Commissioner Gari Baki, following this week’s one-day crippling strike by PMV bus owners and operators following the alleged brutalising of a crew member and driver in Port Moresby on Monday.

Baki’s office said the matter will be decisively dealt with in all seriousness and those responsible will be brought to justice.

The majority of Port Moresby city’s public transport commuters were caught by surprise at the sudden strike which saw workers, students, emergency and shift workers turning up late to work or school.

Schools were badly disrupted forcing anxious and worried parents to urgently make alternative arrangements for their children with most missing out on classes.

Businesses were also placed on high alert in case the situation turned nasty to uncontrolled rioting and looting as experienced in the past.

Foreign citizens and embassies were also put on high alert for the same reason.

Police reports claim that a route 17 operator had parked in the middle of the road, causing a traffic jam which resulted in him being assaulted by police officers.

The PMV operator was later hospitalised the same day raising questions on the retaliatory action taken by police which is already becoming a common occurrence in PNG.

In light of the incident, Police Commissioner Gari Baki still maintains a zero tolerance policy on police brutality and that the recent case will be dealt with accordingly.

The RPNGC hierarchy has openly condemned the incident, stating that force should only be used “when necessary.”

Examples of which include cases where an offender displays “resistance” or “retaliates” against an officer or in cases when an officer’s life is endangered.

Furthermore, in such cases where force is warranted, then it should be applied within “reasonable parameters.”

However, given the recent public backlash against police regarding the case, the RPNG also acknowledges the unique challenges that PNG police officers face in many parts of the country. Especially when dealing with repeat and persistent offenders.

“The PNG public can sometimes be very violent and you have persistent and repeat offenders, but we, as officers of the law need to rise above it,” said RPNGC director media, chief superintendent Dominic Kakas.The RPNGC maintains that it has a disciplinary system in order, but that system needs to be reinforced at all operational levels.”We have a good disciplinary system in place and it is now up to commanders down the line to enforce standards of discipline within the ranks,” Mr Kakas said.Investigations into the recent assault by police officers are ongoing and the suspects are likely to also face criminal charges.

http://postcourier.com.pg/stop-police-brutality/

Review into rental market

Source: Loop PNG

By: Cedric Patjole

 

The Independent Consumer & Competition Commission (ICCC) will carry out a comprehensive review of the rental market in the country.

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, said he has tasked the commission to carry out the review in a bid to fully understand the factors causing high rental costs.

 

Abel said while the government’s initiative to make housing more affordable though is First Home Ownership Scheme is still ongoing, there are still many who rely on rental accommodation.

 

Accompanied by his Vice Minister for Treasury, Win Daki, Abel visited the ICCC yesterday as part of a routine stopover at various government institutions.

 

During their visit, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced the inclusion of the rental markets review, among existing reviews the commission is undertaking.

 

Abel said the rental market may need intervention, however, that will be decided once the review is completed and presented to the government.

 

“Many of us rely on rental to put a roof over our heads and our families. And in a general sense we want to allow free market activity. But I think in selected areas maybe for interim arrangement we can come up with Government intervention.

 

“So in the first instance we have to have the correct facts and figures, and the ICCC I’ve asked the Commissioner to look at the rental markets starting in Port Moresby, and is it reasonable? Is the private sector imposing upon us and the citizens within the housing market rates that are at a fair profit margin? Or are they unfairly imposing rental costs on our citizens which transfer value unfairly to elements of the private sector,” he said.

 

Through his visit Abel also wanted to know about the status of the commission.

 

He also announced that his Vice Minister would directly be responsible for the affairs of the ICCC.

 

ICCC Commissioner and CEO, Paulus Ain, said once they receive the Terms of Reference from the Government they will begin the review.

 

The review will begin in Port Moresby.

Kerowagi To Have New Airstrip

October 18, 2017

 

Source: Post-Courier

 

BY LYNETTE KIL 

The people of Kerowagi district in Chimbu Province will soon have access to a new airstrip after more than 70 years.

The last flight out of Kerowagi was in 1935 by an airplane run by the Lutheran Church.

Local MP and Vice Minister for Mining Bari Palma initiated the airstrip project as one of the major impact projects for the district.

“This project will become the major catalyst for the creation of a local based economy that will benefit the people in a big way.

“I’ve got bigger plans for the district. All I want is total cooperation from the landowners whose land will be affected by projects,” Mr Palma said.

“If we want more developments we need to free up land and allow contractors to mobilise their equipment and freely engage in the contracts awarded to them.” He said landownership issues have always remained a major hindrance to development.

The first phase of the 1.4km runway clearing has been completed last week and this week, the local contractor Kaiaworks Engineering Limited is into the second phase with gravelling and compacting.

Mr Palma said there are plans in place to open up the airstrip for both Simbu and neighboring Jiwaka provinces adding that would encourage business opportunities to thrive in the region.

“As part of my long term vision, I wish to open up Kerowagi as a central highlands economic hub by which the airstrip is seen as a focal point for all economic activities,” he said.

“There’s a MOU already in place with the Outback Aviation in Australia. The company will take Kerowaghi as its central area of business and further improvements will be done to the airstrip to make it reach the national standards to serve the people well.”

First Secretary David Dom and other support officers including Thomas Kela, Joseph Wamil and Kagl Kua said the project on the ground is within scope and well coordinated to meet the deadline requirements.

They said the people of Kerowaghi highly commended the MP for initiating such an impact project that will be of benefit to the general populace.

Meanwhile, the Kundiawa airport is currently not in use despite major rehabilitation work done by the National Airports Corporation (NAC).

Announcements On SABL To Be Made This Week

 

 

BY MATTHEW VARI of Post-Courier

A major announcement will be made this week on special agricultural and business lease (SABL), says Lands and Physical Planning Minister, Justin Tkatchenko.

 

These leases have been the subject of much debate both within and abroad in addressing the issues of illegally acquired land leases under the guise of the lease arrangement.

 

Mr Tkatchenko said since his appointment to the ministry, he has ensured that a high-level committee dealt with all the leases.

 

“As you know, we have set up the committee to go through every SABL file and the decision from the commission of inquiry.”

 

“With that, I will be making some very strong and firm and positive decisions on the leases that have already been investigated by the committee,” he said.

 

“There are some serious matters from these SABLs that have come up and the country will be very happy because we have had enough.”

 

He said there has been stealing of public, customary, and other land, where no consultations had ever been done, but his ministry would get to the bottom of the issues before the New Year.

 

“To all the customary landowners, the ILGs, bear with me. We are going to make sure that before the end of this year that most of these issues are resolved.”

 

Tkatchenko assured the landowners that the committee in place is a serious one that sits every week to deliberate.

 

“The committee is not just a giaman (fake) committee set up just to make us look good. They have to work and get outcomes that pleases the situation at hand.”

 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced in November last year Cabinet’s decision to revoke all SABL titles.

 

Despite the decision, concerns were raised on the slow response of the department responsible in carrying out the revocation process.

Ban On Issuing Firearm Licenses

 

 

BY MICHAEL ARNOLD via Post-Courier

In light of an unprecedented increase in gun- related violence and killings reported in recent months, Police Minister Jelta Wong has declared a ban on the issuance of new firearm licences.

Mr Wong made this declaration yesterday by virtue of the powers conferred under Section 5A (1) of the Firearms Act Chapter 310, and all other enabling powers bestowed on him under the Constitution.

In compliance with this government directive, Police Commissioner Gari Baki, who is also the registrar of firearms, will not entertain new applications for the purchase and issuance of new gun licences.

Mr Wong said the ban, which was instituted yesterday, October 4, will remain in effect for an indefinite period. He said the government is taking this measure because of the increasing number of gun-related violence and killings reported in certain parts of the country in recent times.

The death toll now includes the two police officers killed in Wabag, Enga Province, at the height of the recently concluded 2017 National Election in July, and two in Southern Highlands Province last weekend.

However, according to Mr Wong, the PNG’s disciplinary forces, which include the PNG Defence Force, Police and Correctional Services, are exempted from this ban. A similar moratorium on firearms was issued by the Government in 2000.

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