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A boy and a woman at a bus stop in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, November 17, 2018. © 2018 Alexander Miridonov/Kommersant/Sipa USA via AP Images

The Papua New Guinea government has failed to live up to commitments on women’s rights, children’s rights, and police accountability, Human Rights Watch said in a recent submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Papua New Guinea’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights situation before the council has been scheduled for November 2021.

“Papua New Guinea has made big promises to the UN, but failed to meet them,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “During the review, UN member countries should remind the Papua New Guinea government that it needs to do much better, especially to defend the basic rights of women and children, and to investigate and prosecute police brutality.”

Under the UPR system, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva reviews each country’s human rights record every five years. During the previous cycle, in 2016, Papua New Guinea accepted numerous recommendations. It pledged to take steps to protect the rights of women and girls; to investigate gender-based violence, including accusations of sorcery; to increase access to education, and to ensure that police officers are held to account for abuses. However, the government has failed to show progress on these key issues.

The submission also covers the death penalty, disability rights, the rights of LGBT people, and refugee rights given that 130 refugees and asylum seekers remain in Papua New Guinea, transferred there by the Australian government since 2013.

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