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Friday, 17 November

11:43

Moment of truth for refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Australia can end this human rights tragedy. Wherever they end up eventually, the Australian government needs to immediately bring these men to safety.

lead Human Rights Watch Australia Director Elaine Pearson interviewing Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island in September 2017. 2017 Human Rights Watch SYDNEY Since October 31, hundreds of men have barricaded themselves in an abandoned complex on a naval base where security forces have previously shot at and attacked them. Exhausted, with no power and no running water in the tropical heat, they stockpiled food, dug water wells, and collected rainwater in trash cans to drink. Now, they are dehydrated, starving, and scared.

These men are not in a war zone, though many of them have fled war in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. They are refugees and asylum seekers trapped on remote Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. They are there because of Australias harsh refugee policies.  

The UN has described the situation as an "unfolding humanitarian emergency." On October 31, the Australian and PNG governments closed the regional processing center where these men have lived for the last four years. Other less-secure facilities are available in a town a 30-minute drive from their current location. But these men, refugees and asylum seekers, refused to leave, terrified by escalating violence against them by some local residents in the town and frustrated by the lack of a long-term solution to their predicament.

Since July 2013, male asylum seekers traveling by boat to Australia have been sent to Manus Island, while men, women and children have been sent to the isolated Pacific island nation of Nauru. As Paul Tyson wrote for openDemocracy, in real terms, it is the boat people themselves the Australian government has criminalized, dehumanized and demonized, and it is against them that Australian politicians on both sides of party power...

11:00

Heni Meke: from nurse to CEO Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

An interest in supporting people with HIV/AIDS took Heni Mekes career from the frontlines as an army nurse to working in government. Now she heads Anglicare PNG, one of Papua New Guineas biggest NGOs, which has grown over the years with support from the Australian aid program. Anglicare runs a large HIV clinic in Port Moresby, which keeps 1,300 HIV-positive patients alive through anti-retroviral treatment. It also manages a nationwide adult literacy program and other development programs. 

In the latest in our 2017 Aid Profiles seriesHeni speaks to Stephen Howes about the challenges of running a complex national NGO, the impact of recent Australian aid funding cuts, and what drives her to keep going in a role that is sometimes just sleeping and work.  

Catch up on all the Aid Profiles here.

The post Heni Meke: from nurse to CEO appeared first on Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.

06:00

The elephant in the room: addressing corruption in PNG Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

There is a general consensus that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is in a deep financial crisis. The country is in desperate need of help from both within and outside PNG. The political and bureaucratic leadership is working hard to sustain the country under this financial climate.

The Government has reached out to the international community for financial assistance. There are some positive responses, which is encouraging for the country. However, this is a temporary measure and not sustainable. The real challenge is dealing with the elephant in the room corruption which permeates all aspects of PNG society. Unless PNG tackles this problem head on, any external or internal interventions to financially rescue the country will be futile.

The new Government has acknowledged that improving governance is crucial to the future of PNG. The Government is now embarking on several initiatives to improve governance systems to restore confidence in the government and its systems and processes. The Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) has been party to many of these initiatives and it is in this context that I would like to share with you these proposals.

If PNG is to improve governance and encourage investment in the private sector, and strengthen its bureaucracy to deliver basic and other services to the people, the new Government must first of all combat corruption as its number one priority.

Corruption is a major problem for PNG. In 2016, it ranked 136 on the Transparency Internationals Corruption Perception Index, the same ranking as Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar and Nigeria. As one of the most corrupt countries in the world, PNG has a huge task ahead to improve this image. PNG signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 22 December 2004 and ratified it on 16 July 2007.

In 2011, the Government launched the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. After the 2102 National Elections, the ONeill Government supported the establishment of an inter-government anti-corruption unit called Task Force Sweep to investigate and prosecute crimes of corruption. This team was disbanded about two years later when the Prime Minister was implicated in a corruption scandal.

The Government, however, in 2014 proceeded to request that Parliament approve the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by amending the Constitution. A new Division VIII.3 under Section 220 of the Constitution was inserted through Constitutional Amendment No. 40, enabling the establishment of ICAC. This constitutional amendment paves the way for the enactment of an Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption and its full establishment.

In 2015, the Parliament took carriage of the proposed ICAC Organic Law Bill. The Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Committee, and unfortunately thats where it stayed.

The current Government has firmly resolved to tac...

05:30

Fortnightly links: Scott Guggenheim, the One Campaign, Missing Maps, and more Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

An intriguing Politico profile on Scott Guggenheim, enigmatic American anthropologist and advisor to Ashraf Ghani.

A doctor in PNG finds that involving men in family planning is the key to reducing maternal mortality, Al Jazeera reports.

The One Campaign offers their take on the recent DAC ODA rules negotiations.

A new report maps multi-sectoral nutrition investments and stakeholders in Ethiopia, and shows that most funding for nutrition was contributed by development partners.

India has taken a major step toward empowering and protecting girls, particularly child brides, in a landmark ruling.

Missing Maps is a humanitarian project that preemptively maps parts of the world that are vulnerable to natural disasters, conflicts, and disease epidemics. This project, founded by Ivan Gayton, can save over a billion lives in the worlds most remote slums.

The RDI Network has launched a new guide: How to partner for development research.

Video therapy could be a key method for aid workers to get help, writes Anna Mortimer.

 

The post Fortnightly links: Scott Guggenhe...

Thursday, 16 November

06:00

Reducing malaria in Solomon Islands: lessons for effective aid Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

The burden of malaria in Solomon Islands remains among the highest of all countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa. But significant improvements in malaria control have been made over the last 25 years. From a peak of nearly 450 new cases per 1,000 population in 1993, by 2016 annual national malaria incidence had dropped to 81 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: National annual parasite incidence (API), 1969-2016

Data sources: 1969-1991: Over et al, 2004; 1992-2016: Ministry of Health and Medical Services, 2017

Solomon Islands is also one of the worlds most aid-dependent nations, and assistance from international donors has been particularly visible in the health sector. Foreign aid for malaria was especially prominent starting from 2003, when the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria first invested in Solomon Islands, and rose again after 2007 when AusAIDs Pacific Malaria Initiative was launched, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Estimates of Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and donor contributions to malaria, 20032016 (US$ current)

 ...

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