UPDATE: Tonga’s People’s Rep is Cleared of Riot-Related Crimes; PNG Accused of Ignoring Government Minister’s Corruption Charges; UPDATE: Minister Urges PNG to Develop Plan for Refugees

By Hayley J. Campbell
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga — The number two people’s representative in Tonga, who was charged with crimes relating to the November 2006 riots, has been cleared of those charges.

Tonga’s April elections had been the first since 2006, when the pro-democracy movement turned violent, causing the death of eight and destroying Tonga’s capital city, Nuku’alofa. The riots erupted after the Legislative Assembly of Tonga adjourned for the year without employing promised reforms. Five of the six newly elected candidates faced criminal charges for their alleged involvement in the riots.

Isi Pulu was the first of the people’s representatives to stand trial for his alleged involvement in the riots.

For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand International — Tonga’s number two People’s Rep cleared on riot-related charges — 14 July 2008


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — The PNG government is under pressure for allegedly ignoring reports that a government minister took 40 million US dollars from logging deals.

Since 2002, a Senior Minister in the PNG government, who remains unnamed, allegedly took 2.1 per cent of each log exported out of the country. The Post Courier, a PNG newspaper, reported that the money was kept in two Singapore accounts and managed by a consortium.

Bart Philemon, PNG’s deputy opposition leader, believes the government has chosen to ignore the issue:

“The government has been reluctant to deal directly with a lot of these issues. Like any other issues that have come up, it would appear that the government takes a non-active involvement in trying to find out whether there’s substance to some of these allegations or not.”

A public petition is currently circulating which calls on the Prime Minister to make inquiries into the corruption allegations.

For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand — PNG govt under pressure to investigate corruption allegations — 14 July 2008


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — A senior minister in Papua New Guinea (PNG) told Parliament last week that the country has no clear plan to deal with refugees currently squatting in the country.

Foreign affairs, Immigrations, and Trade minister, Sam Abal, has announced the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is responsible for deciding whether refugees in PNG should be resettled. The question is whether the refugees prefer to remain in PNG or move to a third country.

Some refugees are uncertain as to whether, after 30 years of living in PNG, they have the same rights as Papua New Guineans, or whether they will only become permissive residents. Mr. Abel says that residents are subsequently confused about their status because of the government’s lack of a clear policy.

Mr. Abel maintains that all refugees currently squatting in Port Moresby have the right to apply for citizenship.

For more information, please see:

The National/ PacNews — No clear policy on West Papuans –Abal — 14 July 2008

Author: Impunity Watch Archive