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Rosa Koian: PNG is rich already, we just need to care more

Asia Pacific Report - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:25pm

COMMENTARY: By Rosa Koian

We all want change and we want that change to happen quickly.

Many of us feel deprived of certain opportunities and privileges and therefore miss or forget that we are rich already.

As a country we didn’t have to struggle to become an independent democratic nation.

READ MORE: Scott Waide’s message to PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape

Beyond that we are rich with our good Papua New Guinean ways, our cultures and traditions. Our people have in them various skills and talents that are often given freely.

Our land holds rich minerals and natural resources that today in some parts of the country have become the cause of our various divisions and tensions.

What we need is to appreciate this richness. Our constitution speaks of oneness, and respect for each other where we share equally the fruits of our land and people. Yes we need to engage in the global spheres but our people are central to everything we want to do.

Wealth distribution
Papua New Guinea needs to distribute its wealth equally so that our children can have free, quality education that is relevant for our sustenance and growth and that our sick can access good quality health care at no cost.

We are rich when our women are appreciated as equals and are free from violence and our youth are an integral part of our decision making. We have to stop blaming the youth for our law and order situations and start taking responsibility to guide them.

As a nation going forward when we see and hear more deep thinking young Papua New Guineans coming out of our universities and embracing our values we know we are in charge of our destiny.

We cannot continue to rely on foreign consultants to tell us how to run our country. Our ways are unique, diverse and deep and only we understand why we do things as Papua New Guineans. We must stop relying on borrowed concepts and ideas.

Free from foreign ideas
We want to be free from depending on development aid and foreign ideas that drive our development. It does not make sense when a mineral rich and natural resource rich nation depends heavily on aid. Take a look around, how many development projects are funded by foreign governments?

Annually we import K3-4 billion in food alone according to former National Planning Minister, Richard Maru.  Our dependence on grains has superseded our own food products. We want to stop depending on huge food imports to sustain us. We are rich with land and the right climatic conditions to produce our own food all year round. Rather than taking land from the people we want to help them use their land to produce food.

Lifestyle diseases among young people in Papua New Guinea are rising. Our nutrition status is not getting any better. We need to stop feeding our children unhealthy fast foods and encourage local organic food.

Our own people are paying huge taxes and we let companies get away without paying theirs. When our people start earning comfortable wages and salaries then we will know we are doing well as a country.

Many of our people who give service to this country do not live in decent homes serviced with proper water and sanitation systems and electricity.

Service for the people
We are rich when our banks and other service providers start doing service for our people instead of building empires based on profits.

Papua New Guinea, our land, is richly blessed. We have adopted a belief system that commands us to look after our God’s creation. And so when our forests, rivers, sea and land can be free from abuse and exploitation then we know we will be rich forever.

We are rich already. We just need to care more and look at our distribution mechanisms and make decisions responsibly.

Republished with permission from Scott Waide’s blog: My Land my Country

Categories: PMC network

PNG police minister uses social media to arrest alleged sex offender

Asia Pacific Report - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 1:11pm

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Papua New Guinea’s Police Minister Bryan Kramer has used social media to arrest a man accused of sexually abusing his granddaughter.

Kramer wrote a Facebook post in which he described being notified of a post about a young girl being sexually abused.

“On Sunday I received a notification on Facebook that Wilfred Kepui mentioned my name in a comment. When I clicked on the notification it took to me to a post by Remase Hariwa (real name Augustine Pouru),” Kramer wrote.

READ MORE: PNG police minister to use social media to keep citizens safe

Pouru’s post claimed that a 7-year-old girl was being sexually abused and pleaded for someone to help her as local police were unable to.

“The mother reported the abuse to Gordon’s Police Station only to be told by the officer at the counter that police did not have any fuel,” Pouru wrote.

“I am tagging my mainstream media friends, Scott Waide, Sylvester Gawi, Erbiri Zurenuoc so we can be her voice and bring justice to this innocent little girl. Child abuse is real.”

When Kramer was tagged in a comment under the post, he contacted Pouru to find out the names of the girl and her mother.

Although Kramer wasn’t able get the information, the following day he passed Pouru’s contact details to National Capital District Metropolitan Superintendent Perou N’Dranou.

“An hour later, with the assistance of Gordon’s Police and Mr Pouru taking time off work, we [were] able to locate the mother and little girl who is actually 5 years of age,” Kramer wrote.

“Police arrested her grandfather, I then contacted a friend to have the mother and her daughter placed at Bel Isi Safe Haus to ensure she received urgent medical treatment.”

“Following the interview of the mother it was discovered two other girls living with them were also victims of sexual abuse.”

Kramer wrote that he thanked Pouru for bringing the issue to his attention.

The post follows Kramer’s announcement that he would be using social media to address police issues and help protect Papua New Guineans.

“Two weeks ago, straight after being sworn in as Minister for Police I explained to the press that I intended to run a social media program where the public would be able to directly get in touch with me to raise their concerns about policing issues, an initiative focused on making it safer for mums and dads and their kids.”

“Yesterday’s incident is one such example of the changes to come. As promised you can expect sweeping changes in how our police address sexual violence and police brutality.”

“To avoid any doubt, I’m still very much committed to addressing high-level corruption, once I’ve had the opportunity to address the issues facing our police force I expect them to take the lead without political interference.”

Categories: PMC network

Vanuatu government more open under information law, says journalist

Asia Pacific Report - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 11:31am

By RNZ Pacific

One of Vanuatu’s leading journalists has said the right to information law has contributed to an air of openness in the country.

The Right to Information Act was passed two years ago and will be extended to cover all government departments from August.

Over the coming months all departments and agencies will have to give information they hold, if requested.

READ MORE: Remote Vanuatu journo goes above and beyond to tell stories

Media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post group Dan McGarry said government bodies have been more forthcoming with information since the law came in.

“If we’re having a conversation and we find somebody was not necessarily being forthcoming, it’s useful for us to say “so is your department under the RTI already or is it coming?” or “when is it coming?”, just to bring that awareness back into the conversation that information is meant to be available to the public unless there’s a good reason to withhold it.”

“So for that we’re really quite happy and I think the government is to be commended for having enacted this.”

A recent article on the travel expenses of a ministry head would not have been possible without the improved air of openness, he said.

“We’ve actually got people within the administrative bodies in government coming forward with this kind of information rather than waiting until we dig it out.”

McGarry said the Vanuatu Daily Post also plans to test out the law with formal requests.

“The problem is it is extremely time consuming, it almost necessarily will involve expense and we’re a very limited media organisation.”

The law will be extended to cover not only government departments but also statutory bodies like the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, the National Council of Women and the Ombudsman’s Office.

This article is published under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

Categories: PMC network

World Refugee Day: Nothing to celebrate on Manus and Nauru

Pacific Scoop - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 5:06am

Article – RNZ

First Person – On this World Refugee Day people throughout the world, from all walks of life are standing beside refugees showing their solidarity and support for their right to live in freedom and safety, writes Manus Island refugee Shaminda Kanipathi …First Person – On this World Refugee Day people throughout the world, from all walks of life are standing beside refugees showing their solidarity and support for their right to live in freedom and safety, writes Manus Island refugee Shaminda Kanipathi*.

a large group of men with security fence on both sides, squatting with their arms crossed over their heads or holding placards

The 111th daily protest at the detention centre, 19-11-17. Photo: supplied

Since its inception on 4 December 2000, following the United Nations General Assembly resolution, it was decided that 20 June each year would be World Refugee Day. A day of recognition and celebration for refugees throughout the world. On this day there are many events designed to bring peoples’ awareness to the lives of refugees.

It stems from a momentous point in world history when the Refugee Convention was approved at a special United Nations conference on 28 July,1951. Australia is one of 144 countries that became signatories to that convention. A convention that recognises the legal right of a person to seek asylum.

Yet Australia continues to run two offshore refugee detention centres on the tiny islands of Manus and Nauru in the Pacific. These centres were set up for the sole purpose of punishing people for seeking refuge to deter others from doing so by boat. This is in stark contrast to the principle of freedom to seek asylum that the UN Convention stands for and is embedded in international law.

Shaminda Kanapathi.
Photo: Supplied

While there are many people throughout Australia celebrating World Refugee Day; holding artistic events and cultural activities, others are protesting the indefinite detention of those of us on Manus and Nauru. They are all clearly demonstrating their desire for an inclusive society that the Government seems to ignore.

This is our sixth World Refugee Day here on Manus and Nauru. For us refugees there is nothing to celebrate. Six years of uncertainty, repeating our personal experiences of war, fear, torture, separation from families and persecution; hopes of resettlement in other countries raised, filling out form after form all to no avail. Each rejection is another blow to our humanity.

After three Australian elections and numerous political leaders from both parties, nothing has been resolved other than our daily lives becoming more hellish than you could ever imagine, regardless of Government propaganda declaring that all our needs are catered for.

The current situation on Manus is rapidly deteriorating. The incidence of attempted suicide and self-harm continues to rise, with more than 90 cases since the outcome of the May election. Some of the men have now stopped eating; highly depressed and seeing little point in remaining alive for more of the same futility and degradation. This is happening to men formally known for their strength and gentleness. So far, no action has been taken to remedy this despite disturbing media coverage. We all were anticipating a new Government and with that, an acceptance of New Zealand’s longstanding offer to take 150 refugees each year. Our hopes were destroyed when the Coalition regained power, as they seem to show no interest in honouring their commitments to the UN Convention.

Large numbers of men are still awaiting appropriate medical treatment under the Medevac Law which passed the Senate earlier this year. The arduous wait for men to receive treatment for physical and mental health problems is exacerbating their already deteriorating state of wellbeing. They will not get better without adequate treatment which is not available here.

the hold Australian flags, an inflatable rugby ball, an inflatable kangaroo, and a piece of paper that reads: give us a fair dinkum fair go, you drongo!

Manus Island refugees including Shaminda Kanapathi (left) Abdul Aziz Muhamat and Omar Mohammed Jack. Photo: Dan Ilic

So far 300 men have been rejected by the USA and we are left with no idea of what our future holds. We are not treated as equals or unique individuals all entitled to fundamental human rights. After six years the Government is still looking for a third option to resettle the remaining women, men and children on Manus and Nauru. The Government has squandered opportunities.

New Zealand’s genuine offer is the only solution to this unfolding tragedy on Manus and Nauru. The Australian Government refuses on the basis that we may use it as a back door to enter Australia. However, if they accept the offer there will be significant numbers of men like myself who would willingly sign an agreement not to come to Australia.

Today our message to the Australian Government is put an end to this tragedy that is occurring under your watch. Honour the UN Human Rights Convention. Stop this unnecessary suffering and close the camps.

*Shaminda Kanapathi is a refugee from Sri Lanka on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island with about 500 other men. They have been detained indefinitely by Australia without trial since 2013.

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Categories: PMC network

Police message ahead of Tonga game – have fun, but stay safe

Pacific Scoop - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 3:16am

Press Release – New Zealand Police

Police are encouraging league fans to plan ahead as Saturday nights game between Tonga and New Zealand gets closer.Inspector Matt Srhoj, Area Commander for Counties Manukau West:

Police are encouraging league fans to plan ahead as Saturday night’s game between Tonga and New Zealand gets closer.

Inspector Matt Srhoj says Police have been working with a number of partners from different communities and organisations around planning for the game.

“We know this is an exciting time for league supporters and we encourage people to enjoy the night,” says Inspector Srhoj.

“We also ask that while people are having a good time that they are also respectful and mindful of others.”

Inspector Srhoj says there will be an increased visibility of Police before and after game in the immediate area.

“The presence of our staff is to ensure everyone’s safety on the night.”

Police are encouraging fans to plan ahead for game day and to also have a plan to get home safely.

There will be a number of road closures in place around the Ōtāhuhu Town Centre on Saturday.

“In the past there has been congestion around Ōtāhuhu and we anticipate this will be the case this year,” says Inspector Srhoj.

Police advise motorists, if possible, to avoid the Ōtāhuhu area towards the end of the week.

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Categories: PMC network

High pressure loses its grip

Pacific Scoop - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 2:35am

Press Release – MetService

High pressure that has been responsible for the recent spell of settled, frosty weather is losing its grip on New Zealand today. MetService is forecasting rain to affect parts of the country over the next few days. However, there will be some decent spells …
MetService News Release
20th June 2019

High pressure that has been responsible for the recent spell of settled, frosty weather is losing its grip on New Zealand today. MetService is forecasting rain to affect parts of the country over the next few days. However, there will be some decent spells of dry weather. Overnight temperatures are also expected to be warmer than what has been experienced recently.

A front moves eastwards over the country later today and tomorrow bringing a period of rain to most places, especially those in the west. This is then followed by an area of low pressure that moves over the North Island on Sunday bringing more wet weather.

“The rain should clear from Auckland on Friday afternoon and it is likely to stay dry for the big Rugby League clash between the Kiwis and Tonga in Auckland on Saturday before rain returns on Sunday,” says MetService Meteorologist Stephen Glassey.

Further south, conditions are expected to be dry for the Queenstown Winter Festival this weekend after some light rain (and snow for the ski fields) later today (Thursday).
ends

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Categories: PMC network

RSF decries online attacks against The Intercept Brasil’s journalists

Reporters Sans Frontières - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 12:43am
News
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the wave of verbal attacks and threats against Rio de Janeiro-based US journalist Glenn Greenwald, and against his family and colleagues, following the publication of leaks on The Intercept Brasil website showing controversial internal discussions by the Operation Car Wash anti-corruption task force of prosecutors along with then-Judge Sergio Moro, now justice minister for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. RSF is appalled by the poisonous climate for investigative journalism in Brazil and calls on the country’s authorities to guarantee the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and to investigate the threats received by the website and its representatives.

The attacks began on 9 June, immediately after The Intercept Brasil published a series of leaks exposing serious irregularities in “Operation

Categories: Middle channel

Vitality Netball World Cup Coverage Coming to Sky Sport

Pacific Scoop - Wed, 19/06/2019 - 11:54pm

Press Release – Netball New Zealand

With less than one month until the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 begins, SKY Sport and Prime have announced full coverage details.Vitality Netball World Cup Coverage Coming to Sky Sport And Prime

20 June, 2019

With less than one month until the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 begins, SKY Sport and Prime have announced full coverage details.

New Zealand netball fans will be able to view all 60 matches LIVE on SKY Sport from 12-22 July.

SKY Sport will produce a live build-up and post-match studio show around all of the New Zealand matches. The shows will be hosted by Jordan Vandermade and Netball World Cup winner Adine Wilson.

Guests will include members of the Netball World Cup winning 2003 Silver Ferns squad, Anna Harrison, Anna Stanley, Jodi Brown and Leana de Bruin. Also joining the SKY Sport studio shows will be current ANZ Premiership player Storm Purvis, as well as dual international Cathrine Tuivaiti, who has just finished up playing in the UK and will be familiar with the English teams.

On the ground in Liverpool, SKY Sport will have host Courtney Tairi conducting interviews and also providing daily updates from netball’s showpiece event. Courtney will also host a daily highlights show from all of the previous day’s Vitality Netball World Cup matches, at 12.00pm each day of the tournament on SKY Sport 3.

Regular SKY Sport commentator, Jenny Woods, will be behind the mic as part of the international commentary team.

SKY Sport netball fans will also be able to access the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, via SKY GO on select smartphones, tablets, Mac or PC.

On demand highlights will be available on the SKY Sport Highlights app and on SKY GO. There will also be extensive replays of matches on SKY Sport, please check your electronic programming guide time for details.

Key Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 Dates:

– New Zealand v Malawi Friday July 12th 7.30pm – SKY Sport 3 & Prime
– Netball WC Opening Ceremony Saturday July 13th 2am – SKY Sport 3
– New Zealand v Barbados Saturday July 13th 10pm – SKY Sport 3
– New Zealand v Singapore Sunday July 14th 7.30pm – SKY Sport 3
– Semi Final 1 Saturday July 20th 10pm – SKY Sport 3
– Semi Final 2 Saturday July 20th 2am – SKY Sport 3
– Bronze Medal Match Monday July 22nd 1.30pm – SKY Sport 3
– Final Monday July 22nd 4am – SKY Sport 3

Prime’s Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 free-to-air coverage:

– LIVE coverage of the opening match (New Zealand v Malawi)
– All remaining New Zealand pool matches will be delayed
– LIVE coverage of the Bronze Final or the Final if New Zealand advance that far in the tournament
– Delayed coverage of the semi-finals
– Daily highlights for the duration of the tournament

Note: Broadcast times will be released closer to the tournament and updated on the EPG (electronic programme guide).

Below is the full SKY Sport broadcast schedule for the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 matches:

PRELIMINARY STAGE 1
New Zealand v Malawi Fri 12th 7.30pm – SKY Sport 3 & Prime
Barbados v Singapore Fri 12th 8.25pm – Sport Pop-Up 1
Australia v Northern Ireland Fri 12th 10.00pm – SKY Sport 3
Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka Fri 12th 10.25pm – Sport Pop-Up 1
Netball WC Opening Ceremony Sat 13th 2.00am – SKY Sport 3
Jamaica v Fiji Sat 13th 4.00am – SKY Sport 3
South Africa v Trinidad and Tobago Sat 13th 4.25am – Sport Pop-Up 1
England v Uganda Sat 13th 6.00am – SKY Sport 3
Scotland v Samoa Sat 13th 6.25am – Sport Pop-Up 1
Australia v Zimbabwe Sat 13th 7.30pm – SKY Sport 3
Northern Ireland v Sri Lanka Sat 13th 8.25pm – Sport Pop-Up 1
New Zealand v Barbados Sat 13th 10.00pm – SKY Sport 3
Malawi v Singapore Sat 13th 10.25pm – Sport Pop-Up 1
England v Scotland Sun 14th 2.00am – SKY Sport 3
Uganda v Samoa Sun 14th 2.25am – Sport Pop-Up 1
Jamaica v Trinidad and Tobago Sun 14th 4.00am – SKY Sport 3
South Africa v Fiji Sun 14th 4.25am – Sport Pop-Up 1
New Zealand v Singapore Sun 14th 7.30pm – SKY Sport 3
Malawi v Barbados Sun 14th 8.25pm – Sport Pop-Up 1
England v Samoa Sun 14th 10.00pm – SKY Sport 3
Uganda v Scotland Sun 14th 10.25pm – Sport Pop-Up 1
Australia v Sri Lanka Mon 15th 2.00am – SKY Sport 3
Northern Ireland v Zimbabwe Mon 15th 2.25am – Sport Pop-Up 1
Jamaica v South Africa Mon 15th 4.00am – SKY Sport 3
Trinidad And Tobago v Fiji Mon 15th 4.25am – Sport Pop-Up 1

PRELIMINARY STAGE 2
Mon 15th – Fri 19th
Matches TBC

PLAY-OFFS
15th v 16th Fri 19th 8.00pm – SKY Sport 3
13th v 14th Fri 19th 10.00pm – SKY Sport 3
Group F 4th v Group G 3rd Fri 19th 2.00am – SKY Sport 3
Group F 3rd v Group G 4th Fri 19th 4.00am – SKY Sport 3
11th v 12th Sat 20th 8.00pm – SKY Sport 3
Semi Final 1 Sat 20th 10.00pm – SKY Sport 3
Semi Final 2 Sat 20th 1.30am – SKY Sport 3
9th v 10th Sat 20th 4.00am – SKY Sport 3
7th v 8th Sun 21st 8.00pm – SKY Sport 3
5th v 6th Sun 21st 10.00pm – SKY Sport 3

BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
Mon 22nd 1.00am – SKY Sport 3

FINAL
Mon 22nd 4.00am – SKY Sport 3

SKY Sport netball fans will be able to follow the Silver Ferns build up to the Vitality Netball World Cup when they take the court in the Cadbury Netball Series beginning June 26th.

CADBURY NETBALL SERIES
Fiji Pearls v NZ Men – Wed 26th 6.00pm, SKY Sport 1
Silver Ferns v All Stars – Wed 26th 8.00pm SKY Sport 1
Fiji Pearls v All Stars – Thu 27th 6.00pm, SKY Sport 1
Silver Ferns v NZ Men – Thu 27th 8.00pm, SKY Sport 1
NZ Men v All Stars – Fri 28th 6.00pm, SKY Sport 1
Silver Ferns v Fiji Pearls Fri 28th 8.00pm, SKY Sport 1
3rd v 4th Sat 29th 2.00pm, SKY Sport 1
1st v 2nd Sat 29th 4.00pm, SKY Sport 1

Prime will also have delayed free-to-air coverage of the Silver Ferns’ matches in the Cadbury Netball Series.

ends

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Categories: PMC network

Cambodian fixer tried on trumped-up charges

Reporters Sans Frontières - Wed, 19/06/2019 - 9:37pm
News
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the withdrawal of all charges against Rath Rott Mony, a Cambodian fixer whose only crime was helping a visiting crew from the Russian state-owned TV network RT (formerly called Russia Today) to make a documentary about child prostitution in Cambodia.

After being detained for more than six months, he is due to receive the verdict in his trial in one week’s time, on 26 June.

Categories: Middle channel

Somaliland urged to rescind closure of two TV stations

Reporters Sans Frontières - Wed, 19/06/2019 - 6:54pm
News
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the repeated silencing of independent media in Somalia’s breakaway northwestern region of Somaliland after the authorities closed two more privately-owned TV stations yesterday in Hargeisa, the region’s capital and Somalia’s second largest city.

The closures of Horyaal TV and Eryal TV were carried out early yesterday morning by a group of around ten police officers who went to each station and presented their journalists

Categories: Middle channel

Minister to attend Pacific Community’s Conference

Pacific Scoop - Wed, 19/06/2019 - 2:36am

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to New Caledonia tomorrow to represent New Zealand at the Pacific Communitys (SPC) biennial Conference on 21 June in Noumea, along with Ministers and representatives from other SPC member …
Hon Aupito William Sio

Minister for Pacific Peoples

19 May 2019
MEDIA STATEMENT

Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Pacific Community’s (SPC) biennial Conference

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to New Caledonia tomorrow to represent New Zealand at the Pacific Community’s (SPC) biennial Conference on 21 June in Noumea, along with Ministers and representatives from other SPC member countries.

“As the oldest and largest Pacific regional organisation, SPC has a critical role in providing scientific and technical services to its Pacific country members,” Aupito William Sio says.

“SPC’s important work strengthens the ability of Pacific countries and territories to sustainably manage their natural resources, respond to climate change and disasters, improve education quality, promote human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity and opportunities for young people, respond to non-communicable diseases, and access and use development statistics.

“The biennial SPC Conference is a key part of SPC’s governance structure as a member-owned and driven organisation.

“This year it will select the next Director-General of SPC and discuss the importance of a science-based approach to management and governance of the Pacific Ocean,” Aupito William Sio says.

New Zealand has been a member and donor of SPC since its establishment in 1947.

ends

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Categories: PMC network

Pacific human rights delegation to UK, Geneva

Pacific Scoop - Wed, 19/06/2019 - 1:19am

Press Release – Pacific Community – SPC

17 June, Suva – Staff from Pacific National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) are embarking on an opportunity to build their capacity thanks to a Study Tour and Exchange to the UK and the Human Rights Council in Geneva from 17 26 June 2019.

Media Release

Pacific human rights delegation on study tour & exchange to UK, Geneva

17 June, Suva – Staff from Pacific National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) are embarking on an opportunity to build their capacity thanks to a Study Tour and Exchange to the UK and the Human Rights Council in Geneva from 17 – 26 June 2019.

The two–week excursion has been organised under the UK-funded Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project (PCEP) implemented by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), which will see participation from three fully established NHRIs in the Pacific – Fiji, Samoa and Tuvalu. Other countries from the region taking part in this tour are the Cook Islands, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia.

According to Mr Miles Young, Director of RRRT, NHRIs play a crucial role in monitoring, reporting and investigating human rights abuses, advocating for individuals and groups in need of protection, and holding governments accountable to their human rights obligations.

He highlighted that for Pacific Island Countries to make progress in human rights, it is essential to build the capacity of their NHRIs so that they are able to function to their full potential.

Mr Young acknowledged support from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and for investing in projects such as PCEP in order to drive change and deliver positive human rights outcomes for all Pacific people.

“It is commendable that the UK realises the important role played by NHRIs in educating communities, the public and the State on human rights and has invested in this initiative to enable Pacific countries to build the capacity of their NHRIs,” Mr Young said.

PCEP was launched by the UK as Chair in the Office of the Commonwealth to support the implementation of human rights commitments made by leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018.

Her Excellency, Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to Fiji and the Head of the South Pacific Network highlighted that PCEP provides critical technical assistance to strengthen human rights institutions and mechanisms across Pacific Commonwealth countries, with a focus on equality and adherence to international human rights obligations.

“I am extremely delighted that the UK is committed to the betterment of human rights standards in Pacific Commonwealth countries and am pleased to see PCEP undertake activities such as this study tour which will leave lasting impact, especially for Pacific NHRIs, for years to come,” she added.

Mr Ashley Bowe, PCEP Project Manager explained that the Study Tour and Exchange consists of three phases with the first one starting from 17 – 19 June in partnership with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in Belfast.

Participants will get the opportunity to discuss areas of work with their Irish counterparts such as how they engage with sensitive issues and conduct legislative review to ensure compliance with human rights standards. Discussions will also focus on human rights monitoring and how NHRIs can exercise investigatory powers through national inquiries.

The second phase of the tour will be from 20 – 21 June in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission in London, where Pacific participants will get a better understanding of how NHRIs can work effectively with parliamentarians. They will also will get an opportunity to learn from their London counterparts on how to communicate human rights and monitor treaties.

Finally, the three Pacific NHRI delegations will travel to Geneva and participate in the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC41), 24 -26 June, where the Samoan Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma, will deliver a statement on the rights of women and girls on behalf of the NHRI Samoa.

Mr Bowe highlighted that on 25 June, the NHRI delegation from Samoa, Fiji, and Tuvalu will take part in a Pacific Side-Event at the HRC41 on the topic: Overcoming Global Implementation Challenges.

“The side event at HRC41 will be an opportunity to discuss challenges and success stories of establishing NHRIs within small island states where resource and geographical constraints can make meeting the Paris Principles a challenge,” Mr Bowe added.

He said the side-event would also discuss how contextualised approaches to human rights could address perception of rights as foreign and foster greater understanding, acceptance and ownership.

“A contextualised approach is the use of cultural values, traditional songs and stories and faiths, to communicate human rights standards and principles,” Mr Bowe stated.

The Governments of Australia, Sweden and the UK support the events in Geneva.

-ENDS-

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Categories: PMC network

Tower funds Fijian “ecovillage” to build climate resilience

Pacific Scoop - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 10:13pm

Press Release – Tower Insurance

Tower Insurance has agreed to fund the creation of a pilot ecovillage in Fiji that it hopes will help villagers prepare for climate change and lead more sustainable lives, there and across the Pacific. The insurer is partnering with GENOA (Global …Tower Insurance has agreed to fund the creation of a pilot “ecovillage” in Fiji that it hopes will help villagers prepare for climate change and lead more sustainable lives, there and across the Pacific.

The insurer is partnering with GENOA (Global Ecovillage Network Oceania & Asia) which promotes sustainable living at a local level and is part of the wider Global Ecovillage Network.

Its $40,000 funding will be used to establish a pilot programme in Fiji that will help one indigenous village community transition to a sustainable regenerative eco-community, starting later this year.

Tower Chief Executive Richard Harding says the pilot will give villagers the knowledge and skills they need to not only prepare for climate change but also lead lives that are more sustainable.

“Tower recognises that climate change is resulting in more extreme weather and we are committed to a practical approach to help educate communities and mitigate the impact of climate change,” says Harding. “Extra focus is needed in Oceania where communities face the real threat of more storms and rising sea levels despite being some of the lowest contributors to carbon emissions.”

“As a business that’s dedicated to helping customers prepare for the unexpected, and as an insurer with a 140-year presence in the Pacific, it’s only fitting that we partner with an organisation like GENOA to create a pilot climate resilience programme that can be rolled out across the Pacific.”

GEN Australia Executive Director Andrew Olivier says an ecovillage is a community that’s consciously designed to regenerate social, ecological and economic aspects. What makes ecovillages unique is that they also honour and celebrate the culture and worldviews of its community members, making it a whole systems design approach.

“For existing rural communities that means designing their own pathway into the future, combining life-sustaining traditional wisdom with positive new innovation,” says Olivier. “Being an ecovillage is a process not an outcome, and each ecovillage is unique because they’ve chosen their own path.”

“Environmental sustainability is a key focus, but we also seek to strengthen economic self-sufficiency, and create a nurturing community. So, the types of initiatives seen elsewhere include building with upcycled materials, planting food forests, and installing solar energy.”

“In 114 countries worldwide, GEN is working with communities to build climate change resilience, improving food and energy security, restoring ecosystems, and revitalising right livelihoods.”

Olivier says the overarching goal of the Fiji pilot will be to engage with communities in traditional villages and support them to be empowered to take ownership of, and participate in, the ecovillage programme.

Phase One of the programme, already underway, involves researching and mapping existing villages, organisations, projects and enterprises within Fiji with a focus on sustainability, restoration and disaster resiliency. The next phase is to to introduce the ecovillage concept to key stakeholders, and to identify a suitable community that is willing and able to transition into an ecovillage.

“Once we’ve identified a suitable community, we’ll then provide ongoing education and support based on that village’s needs and the issues it faces. Our focus will be on identifying and supporting locally-appropriate solutions that villagers can learn, install and maintain long-term, with a strong emphasis on celebrating existing cultural practices,” says Olivier.

Harding says as well as seed funding, Tower will also provide on-the-ground logistical support.

“This is about Tower thinking globally by acting locally – partnering with a network that’s making a positive impact worldwide, to help a community protect what’s important to them using locally designed solutions. And with a long-term goal to help others in Fiji, then their neighbours in places like Samoa and Tonga, this very much fits our mission to become the Pacific insurer of choice.”

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Categories: PMC network

China: RSF demands the release of former Beijing News editor-in-chief

Reporters Sans Frontières - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 8:26pm
News
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Chinese authorities to release Dai Zigeng, a former Beijing News editor-in-chief, who has been detained since earlier this month for unclear reasons.

Dai Zigeng, 55, a former editor-in-chief of state media group Beijing News, has been

Categories: Middle channel

Two Bulgarian reporters subjected to absurd judicial probe

Reporters Sans Frontières - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 5:43pm
News
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office to explain the absurd judicial probe it has launched against two investigative reporters who exposed a real estate scandal implicating senior officials, including prosecutor-general Sotir Tzatsarov himself.

RSF regards the judicial investigation as a crude attempt to intimidate the journalists and deter them from continuing their reporting.

 

Categories: Middle channel

Remote Vanuatu journo goes above and beyond to tell stories

Asia Pacific Report - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 4:13pm

By RNZ Pacific 

Clinging to the top of a swaying coconut tree, Vanuatu journalist Edgar Howard carefully plucks out his phone from his pocket.

He’s clambered up there looking for a strong enough signal, so he can file his report to VBTC, the country’s public broadcaster in the capital, Port Vila.

That’s the way Edgar Howard often files his stories as one of the world’s most remote radio and TV correspondents, reporting on news and current affairs from Vanuatu’s northernmost islands in Torba province.

LISTEN: Remote Vanuatu journo goes above and beyond to tell stories

With increasing effects of climate change and rising seas, his work has become all the more important.

For 15 years he’s travelled between the 13 islands, sometimes motoring in his banana boat in high seas and strong winds for five hours at a time to reach the far-flung communities.

“The government must be informed about what’s happening in the province of Torba,” he said.

“I think there’s a lack of information there and that’s why the government does not know how exactly to help those people.”

According to him, there are plenty of stories to tell among the province’s 8000 people who make a living mostly from copra, coconuts, crabs, lobster and fish.

Self-taught and committed
Howard is self-taught and so committed he funded himself for the first few years until the public broadcaster VBTC took him on as a paid correspondent.

“I start like bottom up. I start with nothing and I build myself up and now I’m working with national TV and radio.”

Paying passengers hitch a ride on his boat to help defray the expensive fuel costs.

Howard doesn’t have a story in mind when he sets out as he knows there’s always something happening.

“Every day I get a story with the local people,” he said, explaining that the chief is always his first port of call when arriving on an island.

“He directs me to the people I have to talk to and I make my interview.”

Climate change coverage
The effects of climate change on the province’s coastal communities are some of the main stories he covers.

“Now they [have to] start to move inland because the place they lived before is covered by the sea.

“We’re not used to living in the middle of the bush. It’s a big change.

“Some of the historical sites we lost because of climate change, like the oldest places of our grandfathers.”

Resulting conflicts over land are also a big issue.

Conflict over land
“Because the land is not now enough, population growth is one issue and makes sometimes conflict with the land, the tribes.”

The loss of fish varieties, troubles with crops and ways to ensure fishing is sustainable for future generations are all subjects for his reports.

Howard has a 30-minute TV programme to fill every week which he films, edits and voices himself with a self-recorded stand-up at the start.

The recognition he gets when walking down the street on his occasional trips to Port Vila make him proud.

“They say, woah …Vois Blong Torba!” he laughed, referring to the name of his programme which he sends off on the weekly flight to the capital.

Tree-top reporting
It’s a risky business sending some of his reports from the top of a 30-metre-high tree, especially in heavy rain.

“Sometimes the tree is too slippery. I must make sure the phone is in my pocket. I find a branch of the tree to make sure I don’t fall and slowly I take the phone out of my pocket and I start to communicate.

“It takes me about 20 minutes up there to finish all my reporting.”

The reporting may be difficult, but the effort is worth it, Howard said.

An Australian-funded police post in Sola came about through his reporting.

“I feel so glad because it’s good feedback for my job. It’s so satisfying and I’m really glad because I feel I have contributed to the project.”

This article is published under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

Categories: PMC network

Outrage, opposition to Cook Islands Rocketman ban

Asia Pacific Report - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 2:58pm

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

A prominent Cook Islands lawyer intends to take a court challenge against the censor’s impending ban of the film Rocketman, reports the Cook Islands News.

Lawyer Heinz Matysik announced he would challenge the ban, if it proceeded.

“If the chief censor wants to roll this way, I will bring a full legal challenge and test the boundaries of our Constitution. I am serious,” he said.

READ MORE: Cook Islands to follow Samoa and ban Rocketman

Hundreds of people have already protested online, after Cook Islands News reported that chief censor Dennis Tangirere intended to ban Rocketman.

One LGBTQ community member on the island, Roger Dunfee, is mobilising his friends in California and around the world to overturn the ban.

Te Tiare Association president Regina Potini issued a pointed reminder that the Cook Islands Constitution provides for freedom of speech and expression.

“A prohibition of this film/work of art will impinge on this fundamental right guaranteed under the Cook Islands Constitution.”

Members of Te Tiare Assocation and the LGBTQ community have spoken out to express their concern, but also to show that the sentiments behind the ban are not representative of wider Cook Islands opinion.

Others, though, have taken to social media in grief or anger.

“Today I question my patriotic pride,” wrote Teherenui Koteka.

“The fact I belong to a community who in this day and age so outrightly marginalises the LGBTQ community, a community I am proud to be a part of, further illustrates why our country continuously fails to move forward in the modern day world stage.”

“This honestly makes me sad,” said Ally Donnerly. “If my country can’t accept a movie then how can they accept me?”

And Brenda said, “As a trans woman from Mangaia with a great career in aviation, I find it sad that we are not an evolving nation. More worried about your image in the Pacific than your people.”

The film, a biography of the English pop singer Elton John which depicts intimate gay sex scenes, had been showing at empire cinema for around seven days, but is believed to have been pulled from screening last Friday.

Tangirere spoke to Cook Islands News before the film was pulled, saying he was planning to ban Rocketman because it contained scenes of homosexuality.

The conservative Islamic nation of Egypt had already banned the film, and Samoa followed suit, saying the film did not “go well with the cultural and Christian beliefs of Samoa”.

News of the Cook Islands ban has made overseas headlines, and momentum against the ban is building rapidly.

“This is the wrong message that the Cook Islands wants to be sending the rest of the world” says Roger Dunfee, who postponed a flight to California to mobilise opposition to the ban.

Dunfee, who watched the movie last week, says the ban could have a “detrimental effect” on Cook Islands tourism.

“People are likely to just spend their money travelling somewhere else,” he says.

“There are kids now who see this as a complete disapproval of their lifestyle, of what they want to identify as, of who they really are,” he warns. “I know kids who have committed suicide because of these types of issues.”

Categories: PMC network

New Zealand ratifies Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement

Pacific Scoop - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 8:46am

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau today announced New Zealands ratification of the Multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA) at the opening of the sixteenth annual ministerial meeting of the Pacific …Fletcher Tabuteau
Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs

18 June 2019

PĀNUI PĀPĀHO
MEDIA STATEMENT

New Zealand ratifies Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau today announced New Zealand’s ratification of the Multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA) at the opening of the sixteenth annual ministerial meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee, in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region remains a key priority for New Zealand and Under-Secretary Tabuteau highlighted that the solutions lie in a collective regional approach.

“The NTSA is a valuable tool in the fight against IUU fishing. I am pleased to announce New Zealand’s ratification of this Agreement, further supporting efforts to combat IUU fishing in the Pacific through cooperative surveillance activities and the exchange of fisheries information,” he said.

New Zealand was heavily involved in the development of the NTSA, signing the agreement in 2014.

Following his speech, Under-Secretary Tabuteau presented New Zealand’s instrument of ratification to the NTSA depositary, Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen and congratulated the FFA on 40 years of operation.

Dr Tupou-Roosen thanked the Under-Secretary and said, “We [the FFA] welcome the ratification of the Multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement by New Zealand which brings it to 13 Parties to date.

“This treaty focuses on enhancing cooperative efforts in monitoring, control and surveillance, in order to combat IUU fishing.

“This ratification further re-affirms New Zealand’s commitment to work with FFA members, collectively to eliminate IUU,” Dr Tupou-Roosen said.

New Zealand will now support Tokelau to proceed with their own accession pathway, so as to ensure the widest extent of coverage of the NTSA across the Pacific.

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Categories: PMC network

US – #WeeklyAddress: June 10 – June 16: Sarah Sanders resigns as White House press secretary

Reporters Sans Frontières - Tue, 18/06/2019 - 6:10am
News
Below are the most notable incidents regarding threats to press freedom in the US during the week of June 10 – June 16:

Sarah Sanders resigns as White House press secretary

Categories: Middle channel