Environment, health & human rights Feed

Pacific climate diplomacy – strength in solidarity

Pacific islands leaders
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

MAHENDRA KUMAR
| 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" »


In 1962, beer drinking was a rights issue

Booze & fagsCHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


Berati family sues Oz govt over Manus murder

Reza Barati
Reza Barati was just 23 when bashed to death by Australian guards at a refugee camp on Manus

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


Rio ready to deal with unfinished business

Theonila Matbob
Influential Bougainville politician, Theonila Matbob - Prominent in advocating that Rio Tinto should accept responsibility for cleaning up Panguna's devastating legacy

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


PNG’s birthers: unrecognised & unresourced

Village Birth Attendants Ruth Natia and Mandy Namis

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"

DIANNE-MANDUI-MIRIO
| 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" »


Don't privatise our customary land

Menya River (Brian Chapaitis)
Menya River (Brian Chapaitis)

ACT NOW!

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" »


Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout

Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated
Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated with the highly effective Chinese Sinopharm vaccine

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


Death of a teacher

Jerolyn Arimbandai
Jerolyn Arimbandai

PATRICK ANGRAI
| 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" »


Australia tries to bluff world on human rights

Sophie-mcneill
Sophie McNeill

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


Let's respect & protect what we have

Coastal hamlet on Teop  respecting and living alongside mangroves
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" »


The cost to the Pacific of plundered resources

Plunder (Ben Sanders)
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" »


PNG’s blind eye to K21 billion log steal

Logging_ship_Vanimo
Logging ship at Vanimo, West Sepik

EDDIE TANAGO
| 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" »


Can ATS repel the Chinese challenge?

ATS
The bulldozers move in on ATS. Marape says he wants them out - but is he being truthful?

KEITH JACKSON

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?" »


Stop griping & get a grip on GBV

4 objectives of the national GBV strategy
The four objectives of the national strategy on gender-based violence

JOHN KURI

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" »


Time to empathise with our Earth

Gary Juffa
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" »


Foreign land grab disaster in Pomio

Paul Pavol - forest defender
Paul Pavol warned his people of what would happen, but they did not listen

PAUL PAVOL

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" »


Now listen up, you bullies & misogynists

Lucy Maino
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

KARA WEISENSTEIN
| Mic

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" »


PNG failing to meet human rights obligations

Gender-based-violenceKEITH JACKSON

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" »


Junking our way to extinction

Smokestacks and garbage  Bangladesh (MR Hassan)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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" »


New website reveals secrets of the loggers

LogsNEWS DESK
| 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" »


PNG logs wash ashore in Philippines

Logs-recovered-in-aurora
Logs believed to be from PNG wash ashore in coastal towns of Aurora Province

TONETTE OREJAS
| 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" »


Sand mining proposal defeated

Act say noNEWS DESK
| 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" »


Sukundimi: Guardian of the mighty Sepik

Sepik sunset
Sunset over the mighty Sepik

DUNCAN GABI

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" »


An important video: From extraction to inclusion

Tanago imageEDDIE TANAGO
| 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" »


Log tax increase must be defended

Unsustainable logging
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 

EDDIE TANAGO
| 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" »


Views on sand mining must be heard

Sir Arnold Amet
Sir Arnold Amet - The people have a right to be heard and their views to be considered

SCOTT WAIDE
| 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" »


Plants that heal: the old folks know

PlantsSCOTT WAIDE
| 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" »


Covid dilemma: Australia’s vaccine vacillation

PfizerKEITH JACKSON

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" »


Buying medicine off the street can kill you

Street medicine
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

BEE DURESI
| 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" »


Donating medicines? What you should know

DrugsBARBARA ANGORO
| 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" »


Malnutrition: What you need to know and do

Highlands child (Scott Waide)BARBARA ANGORO
| 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 personal reflection on 2020 & Covid-19

Haus
A transit house provided by Catholic Mission on Iwon Island, East Sepik, for the sick and their caregivers (Mary Fairio)

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" »


Why are most aid posts non-operational

Haus sikBARBARA ANGORO
| 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" »


Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up

MessPHILIP FITZPATRICK

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" »


Ambulances under threat as money runs out

Paramedics attend to a patient on an air ambulance flight (St John Ambulance)
Paramedics attend to a patient on an air ambulance flight (St John Ambulance)

REBECCA KUKU
| 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" »


Attenborough’s grim vision of our future

David Attenborough  Papua New Guinea  1971
David Attenborough in Papua New Guinea, 1971

PAUL OATES

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" »


In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender

Rumginae arrival
Rumginae's twin arrival

NDRANOU KAMANAKU

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" »


Bumps on the road in the push for equality

ArguingBEN JACKSON

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" »


Through immigrant eyes – Part 5

ArtBERNARD CORDEN
| Edited

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" »


Through immigrant eyes – Part 4


ArtBERNARD CORDEN
| Edited

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" »


Through Immigrant Eyes – Some historic context

Neo
Cartoon - polyp.org.uk

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


Through immigrant eyes – Part 3

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)

BERNARD CORDEN
| Edited

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" »


Through immigrant eyes – Part 2

ArtBERNARD CORDEN
| Edited

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" »