Scoping Study on National Human Rights Institution

The Ministry of Justice and Community Services Director General, Dorosday Kenneth this week invited and welcomed the MSG Secretariat, SPC RRRT and the Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institution (APF) to conduct a scoping study on the feasibility, desirability and options for establishing a Paris Principle compliant national human rights institution.

The Scoping Team comprises Dr Jayshree Mangubhai and Ms. Donna Pune-Narai, SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), Ms. Rosslyn Noonan, former Chief Commissioner of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and consultant with the Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institution and Mr. Romulo Nayacalevu, Program Manager Governance and Legal Affairs of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat.

In welcoming the participation and involvement of the MSG Secretariat, the Director General Ambassador Amena Yauvoli said that the MSG was delighted to be part of this undertaking.

“The steps taken by the Vanuatu Government to consider the options and benefits of establishing its own home-grown institution on human rights is a commendable and progressive achievement of which the Secretariat is pleased to support through our participation in the Scoping Team.”

“Human Rights is a pillar of good governance as encapsulated in our Leaders vision in the MSG 2038 Prosperity for All Plan. Strengthening good governance through stronger structures and institutions including on human rights contributes to solidary and unity within the sub-region” Ambassador Yauvoli adds.

The Consultation which continues this week has seen the team receive positive feedback and support for the establishment of such an institution.

MSG Secretariat’s Romulo Nayacalevu said the consultation this week is about speaking to a range of stakeholders including government ministers, departments, civil society groups, the Malvatumauri and the Council of Churches among others on their views of whether the government should establish a human rights institution. “It is important to note that the Study is not for us to tell the government on what it should do as it concerns a National Human Rights Institution.

“That decision rests solely and is a prerogative of the Government. Our study is merely to inform the Government on feasibilities, options and desirability of such an institution. The Scoping report will be presented back to the Ministry of Justice and Community Services of which will then be guided by Government’s internal processes.”

“Subject to being compliant with international standards in the Paris Principles, there are various kinds of human rights institutions. This includes stand-alone commissions as in Fiji and hybrid models which includes the Ombudsman’s offices being given a dual and broader mandate to deal with both maladministration and human rights as in the case of Samoa and Tuvalu. Each country decides their own institutional structure depending on resources, expertise and other practicalities.” Romulo adds.

In the Pacific, Fiji, Samoa and Tuvalu now have national human rights institutions while similar scoping studies have been requested by Governments and carried out in Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Nauru, Cook Islands and Tuvalu.

The Scoping Study concludes today.

Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

Benny Wenda: West Papua leader receives freedom of Oxford
ULMWP POM and WPRRA Congratulates and Appreciates
ULMWP POM and WPRRA Congratulates and Appreciates

The exiled leader of an Indonesian separatist group has been awarded the freedom of the city of Oxford.

City councillors honoured West Papua independence leader Benny Wenda, who was granted UK asylum in 2002.

The Foreign Office said the decision “has no bearing on UK government policy” and it does not support Papuan independence.

The British ambassador was summoned in 2013 to explain why Mr Wenda’s group was allowed to set up an Oxford office.

The Free West Papua Campaign believes that there should be a referendum in West Papua over whether the islands should have independence.

It claims tribes on the islands have suffered under the Indonesian security forces.

Lord Mayor of Oxford Craig Simmons said the accolade was “well-deserved” and Mr Wenda was “contributing so much both locally and on the international stage”.

Thank you letter from Chief General WPRA Mathias Enda

Mr Wenda said: “Oxford was one of the first to hear the cry of the West Papuan people for justice, human rights and self-determination.

“This award shows that the people of Oxford are listening and responding.”

He was granted political asylum in the UK in 2002, and opened the Free West Papua Campaign headquarters in Oxford in 2013.

After the Indonesian foreign ministry expressed “strong concern” over the situation, the British ambassador said it had “nothing whatsoever to do with the British Government”.

In response to the honour, the Foreign Office said: “Local councils are politically independent from central government and so this is a matter for Oxford City Council.

“We support Indonesia’s territorial integrity and regard Papua as an integral part of Indonesia.”

In March a Polish tourist was jailed for five years after being convicted of plotting with rebels in the Papua province.

Source: BBC

Protest at Indonesian trade show in Auckland

Advocates for West Papua in New Zealand are protesting a major Pacific trade show put on by Indonesia.

About a dozen people including New Zealand MP Marama Davidson have gathered in Auckland to oppose the Pacific Exposition.

The event, which brings together dozens of government officials, is the latest effort by Indonesia to win support in the Pacific and to open trade links in the region.

But protestor and former MP Catherine Delahunty said it was an insult to the people of West Papua.

“We’re here today because the Indonesian government have set up this so-called Pacific Exposition to justify their non-existent Pacific status-hood,” Ms Delahunty said.

“They’re trying to justify what they’re doing in West Papua by a diplomacy move that makes them part of the Pacific but in actual fact they are bad neighbours to the country of West Papua,”

she said.

“They’re trying to justify what they’re doing in West Papua by a diplomacy move that makes them part of the Pacific but in actual fact they are bad neighbours to the country of West Papua,”

she said.

Source: RNZ International

PNG Police Commissioner Post: Tokura, Baki to meet

July 10, 2019 The National, By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK

ACTING Police Commissioner Francis Tokura wants to sit down with Gari Baki to discuss the recent changing of the guard in the constabulary involving the two of them and others.

“We are career police officers and we must not have any ill-feelings regarding the National Executive Council (NEC) decision,” he told The National last weekend.

“I’m planning to see Baki this week about all these latest appointments.”
He said he heard that he had been appointed acting police commissioner for three months but was yet to see the gazettal notice on that.

“I will have to go to police headquarters to see if there is a gazettal notice about my appointment.”

Police Minister Bryan Kramer last Friday had instructed Baki to vacate the police commissioner’s office because his contract had expired in May. Also to leave with Baki are his two deputies, assistant commissioners Raphael Huafolo (administration) and Jim Andrews (operations) whose contracts had expired.

Replacing them are assistant commissioners Joanne Clarkson (administration) and Peter Guinness (operations).

It could not be confirmed yesterday whether Tokura, who was in charge of the Bougainville Police Service and Baki had already met in Port Moresby.

Both men could not be contacted for a comment yesterday.

Kramer said Tokura had told him earlier that he would be meeting Baki at the police headquarters in Port Moresby.

“Tokura has advised me to move in yesterday (Monday) and meet with Baki,” he said.

Kramer said yesterday he had not received any information that the two had met.

Baki said last Sunday he would obtain a restraining order from the court to stop his removal.

He did not respond yesterday to questions sent to him on that issue.

Kramer said he had not received any such order from the court as of yesterday.

He invited anyone wishing to lodge a complaint over the appointment of Tokura as acting commissioner, plus Clarkson and Guinness as his deputies, to do so.

More time needed to verify referendum roll, says official

July 10, 2019The NationalMain Stories, The National PNG

THE Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) needs some time to satisfactorily verify the referendum roll, says chairman Bertie Ahern.
He said in Arawa, Central Bougainville yesterday that any extension would not go past 2019.

Ahern said if the PNG and Autonomous Bougainville governments needed a successful referendum for Bougainville, they should decide on an extension to verify the roll.

The decision will come from the Joint Supervisory Body.

The BRC may need an extra six weeks to complete everything. The extension is for the verification of the referendum roll.

“We have been under considerable pressure in the last number of weeks,” Ahern said.

“I’ve made this point that I need some time. I can tell you this will be finished in 2019. And our decision will be made.

“But to do it the way people are asking me, I need time.”

Ahern said a contributing factor was the out-of-country registration and polling which was not initially in the plan.

“We were asked to do (enrol) people outside Bougainville, which was never my intention,” he said.

“But we were asked to do that in recent weeks. That’s going very well with Bougainvilleans happy with that. But it takes time.”

Commissioner Patrick Nisira said acting President Raymond Masono had written to Prime Minister James Marape to convene a special JSB meeting to discuss the extension issue to allow the verification of the roll.

It is not due to other factors such as weapons disposal.

Sale of Vanuatu Passport Degrading: Sokomanu

Vanuatu’s first President and one of the founding fathers of political Independence, Ati George Sokomanu, is calling on the Vanuatu Government to stop the sale of the Vanuatu Passport under its Citizenship Program.

“It is lowering our dignity as Ni-Vanuatu and Melanesian people,” a very concerned Mr Sokomanu told the Daily Post.

“It is degrading, it is totally unacceptable and non-negotiable in any way you can think. We the people of Vanuatu cannot accept this.”

Mr Sokomanu became the first President of the Republic of Vanuatu on July 30, 1980. He stressed the country won its political Independence from Britain and France through political struggle and sheer determination.

“The sale of Vanuatu green passports is removing the value of our identity and who we are the Ni-Vans in our own land,” he said.

He added he is speaking for and on behalf of the founding fathers of Vanuatu’s political independence who are gone and those who still remain today.

“None of us who fought for our political independence ever dreamed that one day we will be sitting back and watch our national identity our green passports go on sale on foreign soils,” Mr Sokomanu said.

“It was not our dream, it was not our hope for making money, it was never meant to be for sale. It must be stopped. Not in the name of budget constraints and if you want to raise more revenue for the country, look elsewhere but do not sale our national identity.

“This is our God-given identity should not be exploited and sold for money. No money in the world can buy our national identity, so stop the sale of Vanuatu passports.”

Source: Vanuatu Daily Post

Chief calls for custom governance system implementation

A prominent Maewo chief is calling for the implementation of the customs governance system in the country.

Chief Moliaute Jonah Toakanase said it is time for everyone to unite together to achieve their economic rights and benefits.

Chief Toakanase made the statement in regards to the economic status of the country, asking what some of the individual benefits Vanuatu has achieved to enhance its wellbeing, livelihood and wealth are after 38 years of Independence.

He urged all 52 Members of Parliament in Vanuatu to work together and address this longstanding matter which is enslaving the people from the original ideology and philosophy of independence and economic struggle.

He emphasized that so far, community investment is good however individual investment remains a major challenge.

Chief Toakanase said foreign economic policy adapted in Vanuatu has resulted in the people facing the challenge of gaining individual economy benefits, rights and wealth.

“We are slaves under our current governing system,” he said. “With the current system, we have faced a rapid increase in our cost of living where minimum wages are low, VAT increases and transportation rates are high including all business investment strategies.

He said for too long there has been talk about economy plans but the people are still slaves of their own governing system as it is not originally “ours”.

Chief Toakanase referred back to 1979 when the Nagriamel movement President back then, late Jimmy Stevens had opted to use the custom governance system but was turned down after he refused to sign a memorandum leading to the signing of the Constitution.

He also mentioned an exchange of notes which took place between the United Kingdom, the Northern Ireland and the government of France on the Independence of Vanuatu. He elaborated that the exchange note saw the name Sovereign economic state of New Hebrides changed to the Sovereign state of New Hebrides.

The chief said custom governance system is the way forward to address the economy challenges faced within the country.

He is calling to the John Frum and Kapiel movement in the southern region, Natatok movement in the central region and the Nagriamel movement to unite and work together in the custom ideology, philosophy and doctrines to create political stability in 2020 and carry Vanuatu forward to realise its economic promise land after 38 years of walking around the wilderness of political slavery.

He said through unity, the visions of the late Jimmy Stevens can be implemented. He recited a famous Vanuatu proverb, saying the people are already standing on the back of the turtle but they are still searching for foreign turtles such as Australia and New Zealand.

Chief Toakanase is appealing for an immediate review to address the economic challenges faced by the people of Vanuatu.

Source: Daily Post Vanuatu

Row over top post


POLICE Minister Bryan Kramer, on legal advice from State lawyers, has instructed Gari Baki to vacate the police commissioner’s office as his contract had expired in May.

He has appointed Deputy Commissioner Francis Tokura, currently the Bougainville Police Service commander, to be the acting police commissioner.
Tokura will be assisted by assistant police commissioners Joanne Clarkson (administration) and Peter Guinness (operations).

Kramer said Baki’s contract had expired on May 7 thus “he was illegally in office” as there had been no gazettal notice authorising him to act in the position.

“I got the advice from the Attorney-General’s office (last) Thursday and that made me instruct him to leave the office (last) Friday,” he said.
He informed Baki in writing.

“My letter to him was based on the advice I got from the Attorney-General’s office. The advice was that there was no existing appointment (to let Baki continue as commissioner),” Kramer said.

“Former Police Minister Jelta Wong never extended his (contract in an) acting position. Baki himself told me that the National Executive Council had never reappointed him. He made reference to some gazette notice which I’m not aware of.”

Kramer also welcomed Baki’s plan to take the matter to court.

“Even he goes to court, that would not put him back in the office,” he said.
“He is over the (retirement) age and he is no longer a member of the force.”
Kramer said the terms for deputy police commissioners Raphael Huafolo (administration) and Jim Andrews (operations) expired on July 4.

“He (Baki) himself issued the notice that both his deputies’ contracts have expired.”

Meanwhile, Baki plans to take the matter to court.

“The reason for my decision is because as far as the senior police leadership and I are concerned, due and established processes for appointments were not followed by Police Minister Bryan Kramer (in the appointments of Tokura, Guinness and Clarkson),” Baki said.

“At the outset, let me state for the record that this action is not intended in any way to discredit the three officers who have been appointed in acting capacities.

“They are experienced police officers who are more than qualified to occupy these offices.

This action is taken to protect them as well as the other senior officers of the constabulary.”

Baki questioned why the Government did not appoint Tokura, Clarkson and Guinness to substantive positions instead of in acting capacities.

“All appointments whether temporary or substantive shall be made by the Head of State, acting with and in accordance with the advice of the National Executive Council given after consultation with the Public Service Commission and any appropriate Permanent Parliament Committee, which in this case is the Permanent Parliament Appointments Committee,” he said.

Kramer condemns Baki


POLICE Minister Bryan Kramer, pictured, has accused Police Commissioner Gari Baki of protecting “corrupt politicians” by sitting on their files and not investigating them in the past four years.

He was responding to Baki’s statement yesterday that he had the files of 40 MPs on both sides of the House to investigate.

Kramer said: “He has been sitting on the files and protecting corrupt politicians. And now he wants to investigate them.

Where was he all these years? He has those files all this time. In fact there were more complaints against MPs during his time in office and he has been interfering with and frustrating investigations. He had four years to do that.”

Kramer said Baki should have delegated the investigations of the MPs to other qualified senior officers.

“There are other police officers who can investigate these MPs for alleged fraud or alleged official corruption,” he said.

He said investigation into the 40 MPs “will still proceed”.

Kramer also defended Francis Tokura’s appointment as acting Police Commissioner “in the best interest of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea”.

“His appointment was on merit and to provide stability for a peaceful outcome during the referendum,” he said.

Baki however claimed that the change in police leadership was to “protect those in power”.

“We have investigation files on some 40 MPs in Government and Opposition,” he said.

“This includes a good number of ministers in cabinet. Will the Government give us the support and cooperation to prosecute these cases?.” He said the constabulary was only as good as political masters.

“The issue is political will, determination, genuine desire to fight corruption and support for the constabulary,” Baki said.

He said he and his two deputy police commissioners were preparing to exit the police service.

“We are not fighting to hold onto office. But we want to see the police force and officers protected. We want to see the police force free from political manipulation and interference.”

Officers told to serve Constitution, not Govt


POLICE officers must serve the Constitution and not the Government, says Police Minister Bryan Kramer.

He told the 28 cadet officers including six females to be commissioned during a parade at Bomana, Port Moresby last Friday that the Government did not create the positions of police officers.

“The position is created in the Constitution and it is the constitution you should serve,” he said.

He said the Government wanted to improve discipline and command in the constabulary “by depoliticising (it) so that officers can do their job provided under the constitution”.

“I have observed many commissioners and senior officers talking about serving the Government. A police officer is to serve the constitution (which) serves the 8.5 million people of Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“It is the constitution that you will serve.”

He planned to stop political interference into the functions of the constabulary.

“During our term in Government, that practice will change.”

Kramer pointed out that most people were more afraid of the police than criminals.