Police misconduct high in human rights cases

The human rights track in the National Court has registered about 2,000 cases nationwide since the Human Rights Rules were included into the National Court rules in 2011.

Track administrator Justice David Cannings says a lot of the cases against the state arise from allegations of police misconduct or police brutality.

As more prisoners are being made aware of their rights and obligations, they are also filing human rights proceedings over mistreatment or violence allegedly being committed by other prisoners or correctional officers.   

“Vulnerable people do face problems when they are detained and we also have allegations against prison officers from time to time.”

He said prisoners can also have complaints about their eligibility for parole. They are also filing human rights enforcement applications against their imprisonment terms.   

“Sometimes they will have a problem with the period they are in custody for so the court can assist there. People can make a complaint that they’ve been in jail too long, by looking at their files, if they detect an error there, then that person can be released from custody,” Justice Cannings said.

In recent years, women who have suffered from domestic violence have filed complaints against their partners, spouse or defected partner.

“Our record in disposing them (human rights enforcement applications) is pretty good.

“Enforcement of their right to the full protection of the law, it’s a right that every Papua New Guinean has,” Justice Cannings said.

(Picture: Justice David Cannings)

Sally Pokiton