Adoption of Papua New Guinea's Universal Periodic Review

Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights -- Outcome Adoption for Papua New Guinea

Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

Thank you, Mr President.

Transparency International PNG, PIANGO and CIVICUS welcome the government of Papua New Guinea's engagement with the UPR process, although we regret its late response to recommendations.

Space for civil society remains significantly obstructed in Papua New Guinea. Human rights defenders (HRDs) face legal persecution such as arrest and detention as well as harassment, intimidation, threats and violence, including from companies that they criticise. The risk is greatest for HRDs who challenge vested political, social and economic interests, especially land and environmental HRDs.

Many journalists have reported intimidation aimed at influencing coverage of government figures and by agents of members of parliament. Just last month, long-standing and experienced news manager Sincha Dimara was suspended by her news outlet, allegedly following a request from the authorities.

There is no freedom of information legislation in Papua New Guinea and no domestic laws or policies to recognise and protect HRDs, who, along with journalists, continue to face harassment for undertaking their work.

Defamation laws, such as the Defamation Act 1962 and defamation sections in the Cybercrime Act, have had a chilling effect on freedom of expression and political discourse.

Our organisations call on the Government of Papua New Guinea to take concrete steps to address these concerns, including by:

  • Reviewing and amending criminal defamation provisions in the Cybercrime Act to ensure that it is in line with ICCPR article 19 and international law and standards;
  • Ensuring that journalists and writers can work freely and without fear of retribution for expressing critical opinions or exposing abuses or corruption by the authorities and companies;
  • Ensuring that HRDs are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear or undue hindrance;
  • Establishing an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.

We thank you.

 Civic space in Papua New Guinea is rated as obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor 



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