The message was clear and strong from Pacific leaders at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. The world was made aware that the Pacific islands were pressing hard to ensure their survival and limit global warming
| Griffith Asia Insights
BRISBANE - Over the last 10 years, the Pacific small island developing states have demonstrated, through various significant events, how they can prevail in the international climate change negotiations if they work together.
This has been possible also because of distinguished leadership from individuals and countries.
Continue reading "Pacific climate diplomacy – strength in solidarity" »
ADELAIDE – I am sure Arthur Williams (‘It was the Aussies who drove PNG to drink’) is right about the poor example set by expatriates drinking to excess in colonial times.
But I do not think Papua New Guinea’s alcohol problems can be blamed entirely upon Australia.
Until 1962, Papua New Guineans were banned from drinking alcohol in a well-meaning but rather desperate - and ultimately futile - attempt to protect them from exactly the problems the article mentioned.
Continue reading "In 1962, beer drinking was a rights issue" »
ADELAIDE - In 1979, my first job in the public health system was as a senior administrative officer in South Australia’s public and environmental health service.
In those days public health was seen as a backwater in the overall health system.
Continue reading "Public health & Covid: The old is suddenly new again" »
Reza Barati was just 23 when bashed to death by Australian guards at a refugee camp on Manus
NOOSA – The parents of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati, who died in February 2014 after being brutally beaten at an Australian-run detention centre, have begun legal action over his death.
Berati was 23 when killed by guards in a violent riot at the Manus Island camp that injured 77 other asylum seekers.
Continue reading "Berati family sues Oz govt over Manus murder" »
Influential Bougainville politician, Theonila Matbob - Prominent in advocating that Rio Tinto should accept responsibility for cleaning up Panguna's devastating legacy
NOOSA – After several months of discussions Rio Tinto and 156 Bougainville community members, represented by the Human Rights Law Centre, last week reached an agreement to assess legacy impacts of the former Panguna copper and gold mine on Bougainville.
The mine was operated by Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), then majority owned by Rio Tinto, from 1972 until 1989 when operations were suspended following guerrilla against the mine and a subsequent civil war.
Continue reading "Rio ready to deal with unfinished business" »
Village Birth Attendants Ruth Natia and Mandy Namis - "If they say it’s budgeted for women, it doesn’t reach us. It gets lost somewhere in transition"
| My Land, My Country
LAE – I was working at Ngasuapum village along the Lae Nadzab highway in the Huon Gulf electorate that I came across the two hardworking women.
An old woman with grey hair was talking with another woman in her late fifties. Both caught my attention so, after my interviews were done, I called them and asked if I could ask them their stories.
Continue reading "PNG’s birthers: unrecognised & unresourced" »
Menya River (Brian Chapaitis)
PORT MORESBY - This article breaks down some of the myths used to justify the privatisation of customary land.
It makes clear that efforts to privatise land are not about development but about profits for corporations, financial institutions and already wealthy people.
Continue reading "Don't privatise our customary land" »
Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated with the highly effective Chinese Sinopharm vaccine
NOOSA – Papua New Guinea began the rollout of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday, with Forests Minister Walter Schnaubelt receiving the first official jab.
China supplied PNG with 200, 000 doses in late June, with 2,500 doses already given to Chinese nationals in the country as a confidence builder.
Continue reading "Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout" »
| My Land, My Country | Edited
JOSEPHSTAAL - Jerolyn Arimbandai was the only female teacher at the newly-established Catholic high school at Josephstaal in the Madang Province.
She was married to Steven Arimbandai, a Josephstaal man and also a teacher at the school. They had one child and were expecting their second.
Continue reading "Death of a teacher" »
NOOSA – Late last week the Australian branch of the global organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) delivered a statement to the United Nations.
The statement was pointed and candidly offered some home truths about how the Australian government treats refugees and its own Indigenous people.
Continue reading "Australia tries to bluff world on human rights" »
Coastal hamlet on Teop, Bougainville. "Panguna was an environmental protest. We must take heed of the many lessons"
SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - I like mangroves. As coastal kids we spent a lot of time playing in the open and grew up around mangroves.
It was fun playing hide and seek and swimming and fishing in the groves, and jumping into the water from he tall trees.
Mangroves are prolific growers and don’t need tending. But they can be uprooted and cleared in a matter of only hours and days.
Continue reading "Let's respect & protect what we have" »
| Auna Melo Blog
WEWAK - Many people living along the Sepik River have raised concerns about the serious destruction of the river.
The river and the people who rely on it are affected by the movement of tug boats and pontoons along the river but their calls are falling on deaf ears.
Continue reading "Destruction on the Sepik River" »
Plunder (Ben Sanders)
PACIFIC PROJECT TEAM
| The Guardian | Edited extracts
Link here to view the entire article together
with interactive maps and data sets
SYDNEY - Millions of tonnes of minerals, fish and timber are extracted from Pacific island nations each year, generating massive profits for foreign multinationals.
Continue reading "The cost to the Pacific of plundered resources" »
Logging ship at Vanimo, West Sepik
| ACT NOW!
PORT MOREBY - The Forest Authority must stop aiding and abetting logging companies identified by the Internal Revenue Commission as defrauding the State and landowners by evading taxes.
Fraudulent practices around log exports from PNG over the past 20 years could have the cost the country as much as K21 billion.
Continue reading "PNG’s blind eye to K21 billion log steal" »
The bulldozers move in on ATS. Marape says he wants them out - but is he being truthful?
NOOSA – I thought this was going to be a good news story, but now I'm not too sure.
Late last week, Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape seemed to move with lightning speed to stop a developer evicting residents and destroying homes at Port Moresby’s ATS settlement.
However, just as I was putting the story to bed last night, I got some disconcerting news. But first some background.
Continue reading "Can ATS repel the Chinese challenge?" »
| Duresi's Odyssey
AUCKLAND - As a Papua New Guinean woman, a pharmacist and a mum, I’m speaking up for the things that matter in my country?
It's been a few days since I read Scott Waide's article, ‘Speak Out! Silence is Killing Our Nation’, but I have not stopped thinking about it.
Continue reading "The things that matter" »
| My Land, My Country
LAE - In 2020, we went to each of the 10 health centres in Lae City with forms on which the officers-in-charge stated what medicines were in short supply and for how long the problem had existed.
Each form was signed by the manager.
Continue reading "Speak out! Silence is killing our nation" »
The four objectives of the national strategy on gender-based violence
PORT MORESBY - The gender-based violence (GBV) we struggle with in Papua New Guinea is a result of many activating circumstances.
The number of cases continues to increase. Just on Sunday, two women accused of witchcraft were tortured and burnt with hot irons for hours by 20 men in Port Moresby.
Continue reading "Stop griping & get a grip on GBV" »
Gary Juffa - "We have used our superior intelligence to pursue selfish gain in a shortsighted manner detrimental to our very existence"
GOVERNOR GARY JUFFA
ORO - Empathy is a great teacher. Only when you go through a situation experienced by others will you be able to truly empathise and understand what they have gone through.
Well we have a situation happening right now which, to humans and humanity is instructing us like never before.
Continue reading "Time to empathise with our Earth" »
Paul Pavol warned his people of what would happen, but they did not listen
POMIO - The people of West Pomio in East New Britain Province lost most of their land and forest under the controversial, government-backed, Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) scheme.
Today, eight years after a Commission of Inquiry condemned the SABL program, there are still a number of active schemes in the West Pomio area with Malaysian logging conglomerate Rimbunan Hijau the major player in logging and promised oil palm.
Continue reading "Foreign land grab disaster in Pomio" »
Lucy Maino and all Papua New Guinean women need to be treated with respect, decency and morality. Papua New Guinean men have much to be ashamed of
NEW YORK - Lucy Maino was an accomplished role model before she became Miss Papua New Guinea.
The 25-year-old co-captained her country’s national football team, bringing home two gold medals from the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
She also attended the University of Hawaii on a sports scholarship and earned a business degree.
Continue reading "Now listen up, you bullies & misogynists" »
Link here to the full submission from Human Rights Watch to the Universal Periodic Review of Papua New Guinea
NOOSA - The Papua New Guinea government has failed to live up to commitments on women’s rights, children’s rights, and police accountability.
This is the headline statement in a recent submission Human Rights Watch has made to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Continue reading "PNG failing to meet human rights obligations" »
TUMBY BAY - Papua New Guinea kiaps who ventured into new areas, or areas that had only recently been contacted, became acutely aware of the value villagers placed on items that otherwise would have been thrown away.
These included tin cans, glass jars, bottles and cardboard boxes with brightly coloured exteriors.
Continue reading "Junking our way to extinction" »
| PNGi Forests
PORT MORESBY - For more than 25 years, deep in the remote and inaccessible tropical forests of Papua New Guinea, a huge industrial complex has been operating.
Foreign owned companies have been bulldozing tracks, felling huge trees, cutting logs and dragging them to the coast to be loaded onto ships and sent overseas.
Continue reading "New website reveals secrets of the loggers" »
Logs believed to be from PNG wash ashore in coastal towns of Aurora Province
| Philippine Daily Inquirer
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Fishermen in Aurora Province have retrieved more logs believed to have come from Papua New Guinea.
Since the logs were first seen floating off Aurora last month, 632 have been recovered.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Coast Guard have sent a reconnaissance team to check if more logs are still floating.
Continue reading "PNG logs wash ashore in Philippines" »
| Act Now!
PORT MORESBY - A controversial plan by the Singapore based Powerplus Group to mine sand along a 38 kilometre stretch of coastline in Madang has been defeated.
The government regulator, the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA), has written to mining opponents informing them of the withdrawal of the mine exploration application.
Continue reading "Sand mining proposal defeated" »
Sunset over the mighty Sepik
GOROKA - The mighty Sepik River has existed since the dawn of time, twisting and turning, forming a wide belt of active meanders and fish-populated great lakes.
This great river, its banks adorned with lianas, sago palms, and pandanus, deposits vast amounts of fresh water into the ocean.
Continue reading "Sukundimi: Guardian of the mighty Sepik" »
| Act Now!
PORT MORESBY - A new doodle-style video has been launched that explains how Papua New Guinea’s reliance on large-scale mining and export logging has failed to improve the lives of most people.
Over the last 50 years, the quality of health, education and infrastructure have declined and it also explains why PNG now ranks below its Pacific neighbours on most development indicators.
Continue reading "An important video: From extraction to inclusion" »
The PNG Forest Authority has failed in its mandate to ensure the sustainable management of PNG’s forests and is pushing back against government reforms
| Act Now!
PORT MORESBY – The increase in duty on round log exports introduced in Papua New Guinea’s 2020 budget is already having a positive effect.
Analysis by community advocacy group Act Now! shows that the higher export duty has increased government revenue and driven down log exports in line with government policy.
Continue reading "Log tax increase must be defended" »
Sir Arnold Amet - The people have a right to be heard and their views to be considered
| My Land, My Country
LAE – Papua New Guinea’s former chief justice Sir Arnold Amet and leaders from the north coast villages of Madang have written to the Justice Department and the Mineral Resources Authority urging them to allow further consultation in relation to the proposed sand mining project.
Sir Arnold has echoed sentiments by people in the Sumgilbar local level government area that their views against sand mining have not been adequately heard.
Continue reading "Views on sand mining must be heard" »
CANBERRA - There is a long and important history in Papua New Guinea of recording traditional information about the medicinal use of plants.
In more recent decades, this has been augmented by chemical investigations of such plants and their possible efficacy in treating illness.
Continue reading "PNG medicinal plants: a research summary" »
| Graun Blong Mi (My Land)
An open letter to prime minister James Marape on behalf of the cancer patients in Papua New Guinea from your citizen Sylvester Gawi
Dear Prime Minister James Marape….
I am writing this letter with tears streaming down my face.
Continue reading "On behalf of cancer patients" »
| My Land, My Country
LAE - Our planet is filled with millions of plants with healing properties – some of which we are only starting to understand.
In Papua New Guinea, traditional healers and elders in our many cultures are custodians of a lot of that knowledge.
My maternal grandparents taught me a lot about the healing properties of guava leaves, hibiscus, native gingers and cinnamon bark.
Continue reading "Plants that heal: the old folks know" »
NOOSA - Sometime this year - nobody seems to know exactly when - Australians will be asked to roll up their sleeves and receive a vaccine to fight the dreaded Covid-19.
We don't know which shot we'll get, not yet anyway. It may be the high performing Pfizer (effective in 95% of shots) or the not so flash AstraZeneca (62%, but there's a lack of clarity about that).
Continue reading "Covid dilemma: Australia’s vaccine vacillation" »
You may buy something that looks like real medicine on the street. It might look genuine but there is no way you can really know
| Duresi's Odyssey
AUCKLAND - There’s no other ways to put it but bluntly – buying medicines off the street can kill you.
Here are important reasons why people should not buy medicines off the street, or from unlicensed shops.
The source of the medicine is unknown. It’s anyone’s guess where the medicines were obtained and it’s anyone’s guess how they were manufactured.
Continue reading "Buying medicine off the street can kill you" »
| Duresi's Odyssey | Edited
AUCKLAND - We all know that Papua New Guinea, with its diverse environment, is prone to disasters, both natural and manmade.
At times of disaster, we as a nation have joined forces to help as best as we can – many times through donations of whatever we can spare.
Continue reading "Donating medicines? What you should know" »
| My Land, My Country
AUCKLAND - Couple of things but I’d like to talk about. First, the kind of food we are giving our babies and, second, the implications of being an underweight baby.
We all can be advocates for our future generation. If you have a family member who is under five, be that child’s advocate.
Continue reading "Malnutrition: What you need to know and do" »
A transit house provided by Catholic Mission on Iwon Island, East Sepik, for the sick and their caregivers (Mary Fairio)
| My Land, My Country
PORT MORESBY – 2020 is a year to remember, many will say.
It is a year that brought challenges to many people from the community to the national level in our beloved motherland, Papua New Guinea.
A tear falls for the unborn baby who died because there was no medical attendant.
Continue reading "A personal reflection on 2020 & Covid-19" »
| My Land, My Country
LAE – A mother and her child make the two day trek to Josephstaal.
For an outsider, it is difficult to comprehend the hardships that the people of Josephstaal go through every day.
Continue reading "The neglect of Josephstaal" »
| My Land, My Country
AUCKLAND - Scott Waide’s article on Josephstaal got me thinking about access to medicines to aid posts, the primary level health facility throughout rural Papua New Guinea.
As a kid, during holidays at home, you knew you’d get help at the aid post if you fell ill with malaria or got scratches on your legs that became infected.
Continue reading "Why are most aid posts non-operational" »
TUMBY BAY - Back in 1993 the pop group Aerosmith sang in the opening lines of Livin’ on the Edge, “There's something wrong with the world today. I don’t know what it is.”
The idea that there is something wrong with the world, including the people in it and the way they behave, is a feeling that has probably been around ever since our forebears crawled out of the swamps and grew legs.
Continue reading "Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up" »
Paramedics attend to a patient on an air ambulance flight (St John Ambulance)
| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute | Extract
PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s main ambulance service – St John Ambulance – was allocated no money in the Marape government’s budget for 2021.
St John Ambulance runs a fleet in Port Moresby and across provincial centres. For much of the country it is the only ambulance service.
Continue reading "Ambulances under threat as money runs out" »
David Attenborough in Papua New Guinea, 1971
CLEVELAND, QLD - David Attenborough’s latest book ‘A Life on Our Planet’ sounds an ominous warning of what will happen in the future of Planet Earth based on what has happened in the recent past.
Attenborough suggests that the Holocene period that started with the end of the last Ice Age may well now be over.
Continue reading "Attenborough’s grim vision of our future" »
Rumginae's twin arrival
RUGHAZ, WESTERN PROVINCE – Yesterday was my day off from Rumginae rural hospital but I had determined not to sleep in, which is my norm.
I had administrative issues to attend to with my resident Dr Polycarp. That being the case we planned to get the ward work done early and then travel to Kiunga to attend to these.
Continue reading "In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender" »
NOOSA – The local newspaper where we're staying, Noosa Today, last week ran a piece from someone pushing anachronistic, sexist, mansplaining propaganda which I could not let pass.
In a published response in the same newspaper, I pointed out that we can all agree that no one – man, woman or other – should face discrimination, emotional abuse or physical violence.
Continue reading "Bumps on the road in the push for equality" »
BRISBANE - No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it and the sinister objective of every tyrant is to curtail free speech, crush rebellion and disenfranchise dissidents.
The vision or mission statement of most corporations, which even includes some not for profit organisations, mirrors shareholder theory and it is incongruous with the primary object of preventive occupational health and safety legislation.
Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 5" »
BRISBANE - Australia’s track record covering human rights is rather abysmal and several notable and controversial struggles include the Home Children child migration scheme, Stolen Generations and Wave Hill pastoral workers.
More recently Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Pacific Solution involving the Manus Island and Nauru Island regional processing centres have attracted significant worldwide media attention.
Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 4" »
Cartoon - polyp.org.uk
ADELAIDE - While I have a lot of sympathy with Bernard Corden’s characterisation of neo-liberal capitalism in his Through Immigrant Eyes series, it is wrong to conceive of this philosophy as some sort of malevolent conspiracy.
Neo-liberalism is, as the name suggests, simply a reconceptualisation of the classic liberalism that prevailed during most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.
Continue reading "Through Immigrant Eyes – Some historic context" »
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)
BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour and during the World War II many of its humble natives were engaged under a military directive to provide assistance for embattled Australian troops along the infamous Kokoda Trail.
This involved supply of ancillary equipment to the frontline offensive and first aid treatment and pastoral care for many sick and wounded Australian soldiers.
Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 3" »
BRISBANE - During the first quarter of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic reached Australian shores and its devastating consequences spread across the continent like a catastrophic bushfire.
After many decades of rampant unfettered free market fundamentalism, it soon became evident that preventive legislation, superficial social protection mechanisms and deteriorating public health and privatised aged care facilities were disproportionately inadequate and often ineffective.
Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 2" »