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Survey on death penalty in PNG, Debate on prostitution

The Papua New Guinea Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) will conduct a nationwide consultation to gauge the views of citizens on whether the death penalty should remain a part of the laws of the country.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven told reporters last Friday that the death penalty had been broadly discussed, especially the method of execution to be used.
But he said nothing had been resolved.

The Government has therefore directed the CLRC to go out and get the views of the people.

The Council of Churches has suggested to do away with the death penalty, but he said the laws currently recognised the death penalty.

“Our Supreme Court and National Court have imposed it and all that needs to be done is the method of execution and for the implements or instruments to be made available, the facilities to be built, and the death penalty to be enforced,” he said.

“However following the request of the churches’ council, the NEC decided to instruct the Constitutional Law reform Commission to conduct a nationwide consultation process, to ask our citizens whether the death penalty should remain part of our laws or not.”

Meanwhile, Justice Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven says the position of the law on prostitution in PNG is not clear.

Steven plans to seek the advice of the State Solicitor on the matter.

“As the Attorney-General, I’m very much dependent on the State Solicitor to give me specific legal support on matters like that,” he said.

“I would reserve my comment until I check just to make sure that we are accurate in what we say about the position of the law, because we owe it to our people to be correct about the position of the law on these very important social issues.

“I don’t want to misrepresent the position of Government to mislead our people.

“So I will need time to check that out.”

He, however said that assuming there was a law against prostitution, those who breached it should expect the penalty.

“When you break the law and you are found guilty in a court, obviously you will be punished and the decision is made in court.”

Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands Bishop Rochus Tatamai told The National that life was a gift from God and no one should use it as an object to satisfy one’s pleasure and receive money for it.

He blames the current “economic crisis” as one of the reasons behind the increase in prostitution.

He said women selling their bodies for money was against the rules of the church.

“The church’s role is to promote the family and marriage.

“Once a man is married to a woman, they become one and live as a family.

“Using a person’s body as an object for pleasure shows no self-respect.

“It is against the church and us as a Christian nation.”

Last week in Parliament, Community Development, Youth and Religion Minister Wake Goi warned operators of guest houses who encourage prostitution to stop.

“I will be visiting some guest houses that are inviting prostitutes to go in and make money.

“We must make sure that they stop.”

He urged MPs to address the issue in their constituencies.

Acting secretary to the department Pala Yondi said prostitution was for “lazy people” who refused to confront the problems they were facing.

“They want an easy way out (although) knowing that the practice is illegal,” Yondi said.

He said these people suffered from abuse, assault and rape and the department was concerned about them.

But there were no laws to deal with them.

“We have the unique Melanesian way of living where people allow family members, relatives, friends and even strangers to live with them during their time of difficulty, to rebuild their lives then move out,” Yondi said.

“However, it seems many are too lazy to work.

“(They resort to) prostitution which is not good as there are human rights abuses, rapes, assaults involved in the illegal practice.

“If you bring your assault or rape case to the police, they will as ask you how did you got into trouble.

“And if you say as a result of prostitution, they will throw your case out or even charge you as the practice is illegal,” he said.


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