UN rights chief calls on Papua New Guinea to enforce laws

UN rights chief calls on Papua New Guinea to enforce laws

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official website] urged [press release] the government of Papua New Guinea on Friday to provide greater enforcement of their laws and to combat corruption.

The high commissioner stated that Papua New Guinea has “exemplary laws and policies in place to protect human rights, but they are reportedly often not enforced.” Human rights defenders have claimed that “the laws were often not translated into practice, and law enforcement officials and communities were often unaware of them.”

The high commissioner claims major corporations in the country have violated the laws with impunity. Some have reportedly forcibly evicted people from their homes with the complicity of local police, and there are other reports of corporations engaging in sexual violence. The prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, has stated that he will push forward a bill which will establish an independent human rights institution to facilitate the interactions between state and non-governmental institutions.

Papua New Guinea has been the center of ongoing human rights concerns due to the Australian refugee detention site on Manus Island in the country. The high commissioner once again called upon Papua New Guinea to identify durable solutions for the crisis on Friday. Amnesty International accused [JURIST report] Australia of continued refugee abuses at the facility earlier this month. Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court dismissed [JURIST report] a request to transfer asylum seekers to Australia in October 2016.