Vila Times

UN rights boss slams Papua New Guinea

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A United Nations human rights chief has urged Papua New Guinea to do more to stamp out corruption ahead of Port Moresby hosting the APEC summit this year.

The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights has taken the Papua New Guinea government to task over corruption and land rights.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein met PNG leader Peter O’Neill and other high-level officials during his visit to Port Moresby on Friday.

Mr Hussein said it was “unacceptable” the government had granted licences to mining companies to extract resources without the free and informed consent of local communities.

“The reported actions of some major corporations engaged in the extractive industries in Papua New Guinea are shameful,” he said.

“Many communities have been forcibly evicted from their homes, often reportedly violently, with impunity and allegedly sometimes with the complicity of local police.”

He was troubled to hear about attacks against human rights defenders and journalists working on sensitive issues, particularly relating to land rights and corruption.

Mr Hussein said as PNG gears up to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit it had to take decisive action to stamp out violence associated with sorcery accusations.