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Webinar: Safeguarding human rights in Papua New Guinea

UNOP 2021 Webinar Papua New Guinea

Organised by the International Catholic Center of Geneva (CCIG), in collaboration with Dominicans for Justice and Peace, Edmund Rice International (ERI) and the Marist Foundation for International Solidarity (FMSI), the side event ‘Safeguarding Human Rights in Papua New Guinea: Addressing Implementation of UPR recommendations’ took place on 24th November 2024, following the 39th session of the Working Group of Universal Periodic Review. This event was facilitated by the support from the City of Geneva and Misean Cara. It was co-sponsored by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Catholic Bishop Conference in PNG, Caritas Internationalis, Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice and Ozeanien-Dialog.

The event was organised as part of a larger project coordinated by several organisations, including CCIG, Dominicans for Justice and Peace, ERI, and FMSI, along with a coalition of sixteen civil society organisations in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The overarching project, titled ‘Papua New Guinea: Human rights enhancement through the Universal Periodic Review Project,’ began in December 2020 with the goal of strengthening the local civil society’s ability to report, monitor, and address critical issues in Papua New Guinea through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. This initiative was funded by the Ville de Genève and Misean Cara. The project focused on addressing issues related to the rights of women, children, people with disabilities, and environmental protection.

The event featured a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Maria D’Onofrio, CCIG Secretary General, with participants offering expertise and insights into the human rights situation and challenges in Papua New Guinea. Panelists included local partners of the PNG-NGO coalition, a representative from the PNG government, a representative from the European Union Delegation, and a representative from the OHCHR.

During the panel discussion, various speakers addressed key issues:

1. Ms. Mou Begura highlighted challenges faced by the State in implementing UPR recommendations, such as educating citizens about human rights, governance issues, inter-governmental coordination, resource management, and collaboration between government and civil society.

2. Ms. Priscilla Opa-Kare discussed concerns raised by the local NGOs coalition, including women’s rights, children’s rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities, emphasising the commitment of civil society organisations to support positive government actions.

3. Reverend Roger Joseph emphasised environmental protection as a priority for Papua New Guinea, citing challenges related to resource management, toxic waste, deforestation, and their impact on communities. He underlined the role of churches and civil society in environmental preservation.

4. Dr. Silviu Jora from the EU Delegation acknowledged the value of the event in fostering dialogue between grassroots organisations, human rights defenders, diplomats, and national authorities. He discussed the EU’s support for human rights initiatives, including the need for a Human Rights Commission and ratification of Human Rights Conventions.

5. Ms. Josephine Mann from OHCHR presented thematic areas gathered from previous UPR cycles, spanning various human rights concerns such as equality, access to justice, freedom of expression, health, environment, and children’s rights. She reiterated OHCHR’s commitment to collaborating with PNG’s government and stakeholders to address these recommendations.

The panel was followed by an interactive dialogue. An executive summary of the event and the video recording are available below :

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