The strengthen of the relationship between Government and civil society in Papua New Guinea has been highlighted during a visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
Meeting with the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, the UN High Commissioner noted discussions he had held with members of the Papua New Guinea civil society during his visit, and the positive impression this had left with him.
PM O’Neill thanked the High Commissioner for visiting Papua New Guinea for the first time, and highlighted the importance of working with all parties
“Civil society in Papua New Guinea, including NGOs, academia, churches, social groups and many others, know that they all have the space to speak as partners with Government in Papua New Guinea,” the Prime Minister said.
“Members of civil society have a very important contribution to make to the development and implementation of Government policy.
“The observations of the High Commissioner are comforting as this Government has made a concerted effort to engage with all stakeholders, particularly civil society.
“Every man, woman and child in this country is entitled to express their views freely.
“Our Government is always open to the widest range of perspectives and we take the matters raised seriously.
“By working closely between Government, business and civil society we build our nation and strengthen communities.”
During the discussion, the Prime Minister and the High Commissioner discussed the prospect of establishing a Human Rights Commission in Papua New Guinea.
“Our Government is committed to establishing a Human Rights Commission in our country,” the Prime Minister said.
“We are working though the details required to establish this important office and look to making an announcement soon before the matter is put to Parliament for discussion.
“As our country continues to advance, we will still experience the same human rights issues that are experienced by countries around the world.
“We must take every conceivable measure to strengthen the enforcement of human rights, in our country and in the global community, and we must work with international partners to achieve this objective.”