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Access to mental health care is limited, and traditional healers are the only option for many people with psychosocial disabilities.
In March, UN expert Heyns urged PNG not to use the death penalty and pursue instead other measures including more effective policing of violent crimes.Reports of violent mobs attacking individuals accused of “sorcery,” the victims mostly women and girls, continue to be reported.The instigators of such attacks rarely face justice, with few witnesses coming forward.PNG is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, with an estimated 70 percent of women experiencing rape or assault in their lifetime.While such acts have long been criminalized and domestic violence was specifically proscribed under the 2013 Family Protection Act, few perpetrators are brought to justice.Lack of access to courts and police, as well as failure by many justice officials to take violence against women seriously, contribute to the extremely low arrest and conviction rates.
The 2013 law presents an important opportunity to improve the situation, but the government must fully commit to its full enforcement and allocate the resources necessary to do so.
Along with other steps, Barrick responded by rolling out a compensation scheme that paid out claims to more than 100 women in 2014.
Barrick’s efforts on this front have been dogged by controversy, but could mark an important global precedent, particularly if they result in lasting positive outcomes for the women involved.
Despite Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) current extractives-led economic boom, an estimated 40 percent of the country lives in poverty.
Pressing human rights issues include gender inequality, violence, corruption, and excessive use of force by police.
In April, PNG’s Taskforce Sweep, a government anti-corruption initiative, successfully prosecuted prominent politician Paul Tiensten for misappropriating US$3.6 million in public funds. In June, following investigations by Taskforce Sweep, the PNG police fraud squad filed a warrant for the arrest of Prime Minister O’Neill for his alleged role in approving fraudulent payments from the PNG Finance Department to a Port Moresby law firm.