Law students learn to fight corruption with TIPNG

Youth & Careers

Three law students from the University of Papua New Guinea have gained a broader understanding in addressing corruption through an internship programme with Transparency International PNG.
Hezron Wangi Jr, Salome Bamler and Eroni Lili began their practicum with TIPNG’s corruption complaints helpdesk, the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (Alac) in November and completed last week.
“Through our legal internship programme, TIPNG wants to build a generation of legal professionals to become strong catalysts in tackling corruption and ensuring true justice,” executive director Arianne Kassman said.
Alac is a community service offered by TIPNG that provides free legal assistance to citizens who want to report corruption issues.
The legal internship programme gave the students a glimpse of real-life situations of ordinary citizens being victims of power play and dysfunctional systems in society.
During their work experience, the students reviewed TIPNG’s publication of 20 unresolved issues of national concern, and participated at high level discussions of governance essential to PNG which included the open government partnership (OGP), extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI) and the sustainable development goals (SDG).
Two of the interns participated in a global online course on corruption and the SDG’s facilitated by the TI Secretariat. Wangi Jr said the TIPNG legal internship experience was an eye-opener for him.
“Before joining the programme, I always held onto the conventional idea that addressing the problem of corruption would be through prosecution and the legal system,” he said.
“After going through the programme, I realise that empowering citizens with the legal information they need gives them an advantage to address corruption.”
Bamler said it was a good experience for her.
She got to see the wide range of corruption-related complaints that people reported and try to assist them to the best of her abilities.
“I now aspire to work with the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, being more than just a lawyer but an advocate for anti-corruption and change,” Bamler said.
For Lili, it has been a great experience.
“When I applied for the internship, I thought we would just be doing legal work,” Lili said.
“I have also come to the realisation that corruption is so deeply rooted in our society.
“I have learned that in the future, I must always have integrity and help people.”
TIPNG plans to expand the scope of the programme into the 2019-2020 school break.
The legal internship programme is supported by ExxonMobil PNG.

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