Photo: [Left] Human Rights Defenders, Allan Mogerema (AID/WATCH partner and Paga Hill youth leader) with Abdul Aziz Adam (former Manus detainee and 2019 Martin Ennals Award Laureate winner) were successful candidates for the Human Rights Defender’s Advocacy Program (HRDAP) with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) held from 17-28 June in Geneva, Switzerland. [Right]AID/WATCH partner and Paga Hill youth leader, Allan Mogerema outside the UN in Geneva.

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MEDIA RELEASE | Wednesday 3 July 2019

A resilient community from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea’s capital city was represented by Human Rights Defender and Paga Hill youth leader, Allan Mogerema at the Human Rights Defender’s Advocacy Program (HRDAP) with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) from 17-28 June in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Mogerema delivered a joint statement at the 41st UN Human Rights Council.[1]

“My community is a pioneer informal settlement in Port Moresby. Once home to 3000 people our peaceful settlement was violently evicted and demolished. We were displaced in our own city between 2012-2014 at the hands of two Australian Corporations, Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC) and Curtain Brothers with the complicity of the PNG State,” claimed Mr. Mogerema.

A PNG Supreme court hearing was in favor of the community to stay on the foreshore as it fell outside the area of PHDC’s lease. However, just three weeks after the decision the final illegal eviction and demolition of the Paga Hill community took place[2]. As of today, PHDC’s ‘Paga Hill Estate’ project remains incomplete of its proposed marina, luxury hotels and apartments.

“This has been a violation of our rights under the UN Right to Adequate Housing[3], Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[4], Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression[5] and Rights of Human Rights Defenders[6]. It is also a violation of our rights under the PNG Constitution[7].”

A ‘world class relocation package’ in terms of basic services was promised to the displaced community by the companies and PNG state but this never eventuated. There has been no compensation of their damaged properties and they have been displaced in the city with nowhere to go and are now living in very harsh conditions.[8]

“We have exhausted all the local existing remedies in Papua New Guinea.”

“Now in our 7th anniversary of the #Justice4Paga campaign, having a voice at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 41st session at Palais des Nations, Geneva in Switzerland is a big step forward for my community.”

“I have felt like a refugee in my own country for the past 7 years, however, no matter how long it takes our community will get justice!”

Mr Mogerema participated in the training with former Manus detainee and Human Rights Defender Abdul Aziz Muhamat[9] who delivered a powerful statement blasting the Australian government at the Human Rights Council for the human rights crisis in Manus, PNG.

The Paga Hill Community campaign, #Justice4Paga, has been running since 2012 with international support from the International State Crime Initiative,  Human Rights Law CentreAID/WATCHJubilee Australia and The Opposition team.

For more information

Allan Mogerema, +61 435 364 477 (Australia), mogeremaa@gmail.com

 

NOTES

[1]Statement by Business and Human Rights Thematic group from Human Rights Defender’s Advocacy Program, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)’, https://aidwatch.org.au/stories/statement-by-business-and-human-rights-thematic-group/

[2] ‘ISCI Condemns Demolition Exercise at Paga Hill’, International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), 24 July 2014. http://statecrime.org/state-crime-research/isci-condemns-demolition-exercise-at-paga-hill/; ‘Uncovering the Crimes of Urbanisation’, Kristian Lasslett, (Routledge, 2018), 29-30.

[3] UN Rights to Adequate Housing, OHCHR, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS21_rev_1_Housing_en.pdf

[4] Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, OHCHR, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/ESCR/FAQ%20on%20ESCR-en.pdf

[5]Paga Hill iconic human rights film banned from PNG festival’, Asia Pacific Report, 13 October 2018. https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/10/13/paga-hill-iconic-human-rights-film-banned-from-png-festival/

[6] ‘Frontline Insight: The Paga Hill Struggle’, Thomas Reuters Foundation, 8 August 2018. https://youtu.be/Fn8P2i4Byro

[7] Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, http://www.paclii.org/pg/legis/consol_act/cotisopng534/

[8] Paga Hill Community: Where are they now’, short ideo by Allan Mogerema and Natalie Lowrey documenting the conditions of the Paga Hill community displaced in Port Moresby, May 2017. https://youtu.be/XFYev8hd4fY

[9] ‘Refugee flown from Manus Island to Switzerland to accept major human rights award’, SBS Broadcasting, 14 February 2019, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/refugee-flown-from-manus-island-to-switzerland-to-accept-major-human-rights-award

 

 

 

 

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