A fortnightly roundup of policy news in the Pacific by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and the Development Policy Centre.
Condolences on the passing of Chronox Manek, Chief Ombudsman of Papua New Guinea.
POLITICS : Pacific leaders at UN General Assembly
In the first meeting of its kind, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon met Pacific Island Forum leaders on the sidelines of the 67th UN General Assembly in New York. Mr Ban emphasised the importance of Pacific island countries’ continued leadership and active engagement in addressing global challenges.
In speeches to the General Assembly, Pacific island leaders were critical of the international community, imploring richer countries to do more to address climate change issues and increase assistance to Pacific island countries. New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully echoed calls for greater support to the region, particularly in relation to the management of fishing resources and development of renewable energy.
On the sidelines of the general assembly Fiji effected a significant diplomatic coup with its election as chair of the influential Group of 77, the first time a Pacific island nation has been elected to that position.
Setback for Fiji rehabilitation
In what has been seen as a setback in Fiji’s political rehabilitation, an International Labour Organization mission was expelled by the military government apparently without reason. The expulsion was unexpected, not least because the mission was in Fiji at the invitation of the military government to investigate claims by local trade unions that workers’ rights were not being respected. The Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum denied an ‘ejection’, stating that the delegation had been asked to leave ahead of a future mission to operate under revised terms of reference.
In the aftermath of this incident a prominent Fiji unionist labelled as ‘harassment’ police having prevented him from boarding a flight to China.
PNG ready to raise West Papua issue
For the first time in years PNG, it would seem, is prepared to engage with Indonesia over decades of alleged human rights ‘abuses’ in neighbouring West Papua. PM Peter O’Neill’s position stands in contrast to one of West Papua’s traditional supporters, Vanuatu, in light of PM Kilman’s recent statement at the UN General Assembly which failed to mention West Papua.
Elsewhere, questions have arisen as to whether West Papua will be Australia’s new East Timor. In addition, New Zealand’s public pension fund has pulled out of Freeport’s Grasberg mine in West Papua due to breaches of human rights by Indonesian security forces. This is the first time a government fund has acted on corruption and human rights violations by Indonesia’s security forces.
More News: http://devpolicy.org/pacific-buzz