Papua New Guinea

Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The following country profiles are derived in part from sections of the Human Rights Watch 2019 World Report that relate to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Asia Pac HIV Key Population Networks Seek More Influence Over Global Fund Grant-Making

A coalition of regional key population networks responding to the impact of HIV in Asia and the Pacific is calling for its members to be more involved in managing key grants from the internationally funded Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund).

African human rights body urges renewed efforts on human rights in response to HIV

On 27 January, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) launched a groundbreaking report, HIV, the law and human rights in the African human rights system: key challenges and opportunities for rights-based responses.

Big step forward for human rights as Commonwealth officially accredits first LGBTI organisation

The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) welcomes the decision by the Commonwealth to approve the Network for accreditation as a Commonwealth organisation.


Asia: Social media app Hornet invests in gay men's health

Hornet is committed to HIV health innovation and is investing in its Health Innovation Group with a new officer for SE Asia. Data shows that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men in this region continues to increase while prevalence among the general population has been in decline. Very few gay men are knowledgeable about PrEP or the benefits of effective HIV treatment for improved health or prevention. Additionally, gay men continue to encounter significant barriers when accessing treatment or prevention. 

"I want to see more gay men getting tested and accessing appropriate treatment or prevention services following their test," said Lieu Anh Vu, Hornet's new Health and Innovation Strategist for Southeast Asia.  Vu joins Hornet from United Nations Development Programme UNDP where he worked as an LGBT social justice and health advocacy.

Hornet recognizes the unique opportunity that social networking apps present in ongoing efforts to improve the health and wellness of gay men around the globe. The endeavors in Southeast Asia is part of an ongoing investment in the lives of gay men and fostering of stronger community relationships.  Read more via PR Newswire 

Australia: These are the queer refugees the government has locked up on a remote pacific island

Mohsen is one of more than 1,300 asylum seekers that Australia has sent, since 2012, to what is called the Manus Island detention center. It’s a facility for single men and teenage boys; several hundred women and families are being detained 1,300 miles to the east on the island nation of Nauru. They were all captured at sea while trying to reach Australia by boat from Indonesia, under a policy that even the UN secretary general has personally pleaded with the Australia’s prime minister to bring to an end.

Canberra calls this the “Pacific Solution” to the problem of people attempting to get to Australia by boat. Those it cannot force back into international waters it holds in camps outside its borders in an attempt to prevent them from asserting the right to asylum on its territory.

There’s an added fear for queer asylum seekers like Mohsen. They worry about being targeted by others in the camp, who are mostly from Iran and other countries where homosexuality is criminalized, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. They also are afraid of Papua New Guinea’s police force because the country’s laws punish homosexuality with up to 14 years in prison. “This place is no better than Iran,” Mohsen said. “I wish I had died on that boat 100 times a day.” 

Read more via Buzzfeed


Papua New Guinea: UN recognises local journalists

The UN Women’s Awards is a joint initiative by UN Women and UNAIDS to recognise journalists who write stories on human rights. The UN Women office in Papua New Guinea has recognized several journalists with the award.

Journalist, Deborah Pranis was acknowledged on a documentary she compiled on Sorcery killings in the Highlands. Florence Jonduo was recognised for her story on transgender issues male sex workers encounter on a daily basis.  And Abraham Avidiba, a Lae-based journalist, took out the third award for a news piece he wrote on a male sex worker.

The recognising of journalism work in PNG, unlike other professions, is rare. These awards are predicted to boost journalists’ morale and encourage them to continue to report on HIV & Gender Based Violence issues within Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.  Read more via EMTV 

Universal Periodic Review recommends changes for sexual and gender rights

During the UPR, many recommendations were made regarding sexual rights as they relate to human rights across the 14 countries reviewed.

Gay asylum seekers fear arrest for reporting rape in Papua New Guinea

An asylum seeker on Manus Island says he has been raped twice in detention in the past four months, but fears going to the police because he has been told he will be jailed for being homosexual. Mohammad* has reported the assaults to camp security, but lives in fear of further attacks: months after being raped – on two separate occasions by two different men – the man is still living in the same compound as his alleged attackers.

Other gay asylum seekers in the detention centre say they are regularly sexually harassed and assaulted, and have contemplated suicide if they are forced to live in the PNG community. In an interview from detention, Mohammad told Guardian Australia he is regularly sexually assaulted by fellow detainees, but is too scared to report the attacks because homosexuality is illegal in Papua New Guinea and he has been told by camp authorities he will be jailed. Read More