Judge: Every citizen must be aware of their rights


It is vital for every citizen in Papua New Guinea to be made aware of their human rights and obligations, say Justice David Cannings.
Cannings, who is also the human rights judge administrator, said that PNG was faced with the challenge of making people aware of their basic human rights and obligations.
“Where there is human rights, there is an obligation. You have the right to life, I have the right to respect you, I can’t come and attack you for no good reason and if I do that, I’m breaching your human rights,” Cannings said.
“The laws exist in PNG but we need to get the message out to people everywhere, whatever sort of person they are, wherever they live in the country, we need to make them aware of their human rights and their obligations.
“PNG is a free country because there is a constitutional right to freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of conscious or religion, but each one of us is subject to the duty to respect the human rights of every other person.”
Cannings said that approaches had been taken to empower the courts with the main objective of minimising human rights violation in the country.
“Whenever people feel that their right to the equality of treatment and respect as every citizen in the country ensures, if that’s being impaired, infringed, well we are working on ways to improve access to the court, especially in the National Court in particular for them,” he said.
“So in the Waigani National Court, there is special human rights track, we have special forms for people to complete if they feel that they have a human rights problem or an issue they want to bring into court, it’s just so easy.