Human rights bill planned for House

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PARLIAMENT will be notified today for constitutional amendments to create a Human Rights Commission (HRC).
Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina said yesterday the creation of the commission would be unique, featuring quasi-judicial powers.
Mr Maladina, who has successfully moved legislations through the House as Private Members Bill, is likely to get the 83 votes required for the Bill to pass.
He said Papua New Guinea had been participating in many international human rights conventions, but did not have a commission.
“The HRC will also allow other Pacific Island countries to subscribe to it by political treaty.
“This legislation is unique and is one of the consequential legislations, including separation of National and Supreme Courts and retirement age of judges that will now take the workload off the Ombudsman Commission (OC),” Mr Maladina said.
He said the OC was inundated and overworked, dealing with so many issues, including human rights as well as the Leadership Code.
He said the HRC would be dealing with far reaching issues including people held in custody without proper trial, Government services not delivering proper health care, climate change refugees, their rights and resources once they move, rights of women and children.
Mr Maladina said smaller Pacific Island countries affected by climate change, for example, Tuvalu who areforced to move to New Zealand as climate change refugees, could have their rights looked after by the HRC provided they subscribed to the treaty.
“The powers of the HRC will be wide ranging and it will have quasi-judicial powers, unlike the OC,” he said.
He said Fiji had a HRC but was beset with problems and issues, including them recognising the military regime.