Govt officials gain better understanding of UN treaties

Government officials that deal with human rights are now equipped with a better understanding of the United Nations treaties following a two-day workshop in Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea has ratified six of the core human rights treaties. These include the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The workshop was hosted by the Department for Community Development, Youth and Religion (DfCDYR) in partnership with the UN Office of the Human Rights Commission (UNOHRC).

The workshop provided participants with basic understanding of the human rights treaties to enable them to complete reports on PNG’s progress so far. These reports are due for submission to the UN.

The 36 participants were from various key Government partners, including DfCDYR, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Attorney General, Constitutional Law Reform Commission and National Planning.

National Human Rights Officer Alithia Barampataz highlighted that a lot of the participants had a strong understanding of some of these human rights principles, like non-discrimination and equality.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the rights of persons with disability, women’s rights and children’s rights as these are some of our core vulnerable groups.

“The purpose of the workshop is to see how we can apply human rights based approach so that these groups are not left behind.

“This is also part of the sustainable development goals to leave no one behind and reach those furthest behind and try and close that equality gap,” Barampataz said.

A participant, Foreign Affairs officer Anna Mokono, said the workshop has helped them understand basic human rights and the procedures, treaty reporting and UN Conventions.

Mokono said one of the main challenges that the department faces is the lack of coordination for the whole government approach in terms of trying to present treaty report on a timely basis.

She said what is needed is the cooperation and coordination of all agencies to make sure that as a country, PNG presents these reports to the UN on time.

Quintina Naime