By ALISON ANIS
DISCRIMINATION is a hand-brake on development because it denies people access to basic human rights and other necessities to live a full life, David Chick, counsellor governance with AusAID, said last Thursday during the observation of the International Day for Human Rights in Port Moresby.
Mr Chick said that it was a waste of talent when people choose to discriminate against certain group of people because they were different or did not have the ability to do what others could.
“Human rights are primarily about human dignity and the International Human Rights Day and the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, marks states of the world coming together and agreeing that all people, regardless of their circumstances, have the rights to a base level of dignity that comes from access to certain universal opportunities and freedom,” he said.
He said when an individual was denied rights to participate as an equal member of the society, the community missed out.
“Discrimination disallows communities to benefit from the skills and abilities of all its members.
“When we discriminate against girls by not sending them to school, when we don’t employ people with HIV/AIDS or when we characterise people by their disability rather than their ability, then we, the community, also miss out,” he said.
Mr Chick added that so much was being done in PNG to support human rights and end discrimination and yet so much remained to be done.
He said AusAID would continue to support the Government of PNG to address discrimination for the reason that nothing would be a bigger hand-brake on PNG’s development than:
l Disempowering half of the community and squandering their talent, by denying them education, jobs or political representation; or
l Allowing people with HIV/AIDS to take a hold in communities and spread, and isolating those that contract the disease.