Shadow Minister concerned with APEC Security Act

The Shadow Minister for Justice & Attorney General has raised concerns over the amended APEC Safety and Security Act 2018.

The Act was passed in 2017 and amended this year.

Shadow Minister Kerenga Kua, who is also the Sinesine-Yongomugl MP, believes the amended APEC Safety and Security Act contracts PNG’s sovereignty to foreign soldiers who will be coming into this country.

Kua says the Act directs citizens to treat foreign security as they would members of the PNG Defence Force and Royal PNG Constabulary, even though this country was not involved in their respective screening and vetting.

“Our Defence Force is the only organisation in Papua New Guinea that protects and defends our boundaries and our sovereignty,” stated Kua.

“You can’t contract that away to somebody else. Somebody tried to do it before in the Sandline case and the people of Papua New Guinea thrashed it.

“They openly came and protested and put an end to that.

“Well, it’s happening again this time around, under the guise of APEC.”

Kua further highlighted that under the same legislation, foreign security forces have been granted immunity from criminal or civil prosecution.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Safety and Security Act 2017, Section 46 (1):

“A member of the foreign safety and security personnel shall not be held civilly liable or criminally responsible for acts or omissions carried out in accordance with Section 43 and for the purposes of this Act.”

Furthermore, under the ‘Sunset Clause’, which will be in effect from November 9-19, foreign security forces can use ‘lethal force’ if required.

“It says if you get shot, killed or injured during APEC by these foreign troops, it’s your tough luck. That’s what the law says,” stated Kua.

“So if they happen to be involved in a shootout, somebody gets killed or murdered or injured, you can’t prosecute them. The law absolves them of all responsibility.

“It’s got to be unconstitutional, because the Constitution has provisions which protect the interests of its citizens here.”

This concern was raised earlier by Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch, who accused the Government for not considering its people when passing laws.

Carmella Gware