Monday, 1 June 2009 10:20 AM

Amnesty International Report Highlights Issues in 3 Pacific Nations

The Amnesty International report for 2009 has highlighted some human rights issues in the region, mainly in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

According to a report by the Australia Network News, the organization has highlighted a 'climate of fear in Fiji, high levels of violence and impunity in Papua New Guinea and a growing health crisis from spreading slums in Solomon Islands'.

In its 2009 annual report, the human rights group condemns Fiji's suspension of the constitution and legal processes and says it's contributing to growing violence, impunity for police and soldiers, and a declining economy.

According to the report, the organization says 'the interim, military-backed government of Fiji continued to violate freedom of expressions and use intimidation, particularly through a pattern of short-term arrests and deportations', and called on China to use its influence to urge a restoration of legal processes in Fiji since it gives the country a lot of aid.

In the case of Papua New Guinea, according to the report, the organisation's report is 'scathing about rampant violent crime in Papua New Guinea, including attacks on and murders of suspected sorcerers, particularly in the Eastern Highlands, and the use of excessive force by police' and saying that those responsible were not brought to justice.

Rapes reported to PNG police between January and October numbered 654, up from 526 reported the previous year, with few cases prosecuted amid fears of retribution.

Amnesty also says maternal mortality and HIV infection rates were high in PNG because of poor health services, despite the allocation of $US78 million for the health department.


According to the article, the Amnesty report 'also documented the growing slums around the Solomons' capital, Honiara', saying the government has 'failed to provide low cost housing over ten years of increasing rural-urban migration, creating mounting health concerns'.

Amnesty says Solomon Islands also has one of the world's highest rates of violence against women by their partners, while the government had not produced a promised plan to address gender-based violence.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province