Friday 22 Feb 2019 | 22:50 | SYDNEY
Friday 22 Feb 2019 | 22:50 | SYDNEY

Pacific links: Nauru files, Vanuatu MPs found guilty, PNG legislative moves, Fiji's Rugby sevens and more


17 August 2016 16:34

By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program

  • Fallout from the release of the Nauru Files continues. The Nauru government claimed the reports are fabricated while various groups, including several within the United Nations, have urged Australia to stop offshore processing of asylum seekers.
  •  An Australian senate inquiry into the offshore centres is looking more likely after crossbenchers indicated their support for Labor’s motion. More than 1800 academics and the president of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, have called for a summit on the issue.
  • The head of Samoa’s police and the Director of Public Prosecution have been charged in separate incidents, one for unlawful arrest and the other for traffic offenses.
  • A threatened vote of no confidence against the Tongan Prime Minister, ‘Akilisi Pohiva this week did not eventuate.
  •  Eleven jailed members of Vanuatu’s parliament, and a lawyer, have been found guilty of conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
  • Papua New Guinea entrepreneurs have begun trialing digital technology for online cancer diagnosis.
  • The blockade at the Hela LNG facilities has entered its second week, as negations between landowners at the ExxonMobil gas facilities and the PNG government continue. 
  • The PNG Parliament has passed significant amendments and legislation. Amendments to the Public Finance Management Act will give the ministers greater power over information and hopefully help tackle corruption while new cybersecurity legislation has raised concerns about the potential violation of freedom of expression.
  • The 7th Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women Meeting is being held in Fiji this week.
  • In Olympics news, Tongan Olympian Amini Fonuna, who is openly gay, has criticised The Daily Beast for writing an article outing gay athletes at the Olympics, highlighting that in many countries such as Tonga, homosexuality is still illegal. The website has since removed the article and posted an apology. 
  • Kiribati's weightlifter David Katoatau has made international headlines for his dancing to draw attention to the threat of climate change in the region.
  • And finally, there is the the mighty Fiji Rugby sevens gold medal team who defeated Great Britain 43 – 7 in Fiji's first ever Olympic medal winning performance. The win brought Fiji to a standstill with foreign ministers gathered for the Pacific Islands Forum among those who paused to watch the game. The players were widely praised for their humble demeanour after the win, singing a traditional hymn and showing Princess Anne the deepest respect during the presentation of their medals.


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