DON'T AMEND CONSTITUTION TO CATER FOR INDIVIDUAL GREED

by MELL LAKKA
Mr. Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea does not need to amend the constitution to cater for an individual's greed. We need intelligent people to debate on controversial issues affecting our lives. I hope your newly appointed CIS Minister looks into the deplorable Prison conditions in Papua New Guinea. Having said that it begs the question, What happened to the mass killing of the prisoners last year and the year before that, its been almost two years and it seems like the government had slaughter pigs and no one even cares about it.

Look at the  Correctional Institution Service of Papua New Guinea, it has been facing problems of organization, administration, training, lack of community support and finance.  So far, it has asked for and received advice and financial help from the Australian government to surmount these difficulties. The invited organizations and specialists have presented several reports with many recommendations to improve the situation. But up until now few of those recommendations have been implemented.
Papua New Guinea is a member of the United Nations, hence, a member of the international community. Papua New Guinea is also party to a number of international Human Rights treaties and is also obligated under international laws to adhere to those international treaties and conventions that recognizes the right of a human being despite be incarcerated.
There are a number of International Conventions that prohibit the mistreatment of adults directly or indirectly within correctional and penal institutions around the world, such international conventions include these international conventions include the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  (CAT),  Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners,  Optional Protocol To The Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhumane Or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,  Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners.
It must be understood that the above mentioned international treaties, protocols and conventions sets the guide line or standard for member states to enact national legislations in correspondence to those international conventions, standards and treaties.
Article 2 (1) of CAT provides that each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. The mentioned international conventions tend to set share a common purpose and that is the prohibition of torture, ill treatment or mistreatment of human beings despite them being convicted, deprived of liberty and imprisoned.
In Papua New Guinea prisoners are mistreated on a daily basis by authorities and other prisoners, lack of government funding as resulted in correctional institutions being rundown, houses are in deplorable conditions. Despite Part 1 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners,  which calls for countries such as Papua New Guinea to make sure that the housing of prisoners is of average standard, thus sleeping accommodation is in individual cells or rooms, each prisoner shall occupy by night a cell or room by himself. If for special reasons, such as temporary overcrowding, it becomes necessary for the central prison administration to make an exception to this rule, it is not desirable to have two prisoners in a cell or room.
All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health and due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting and heating. It is apparent form reports, case laws, articles, and journals that the practice of treating prisoners within correctional institutions in Papua New Guinea is somewhat different or contrary to international conventions. Reports have indicated that prisons in Papua New Guinea are below average world standard. The housing of prisoners is of unimaginable conditions where prisoners sometimes sleep next to their own or someone else’s feces, with nothing to cover on bare dusty cements as a result of overcrowding. It is apparent that such treatment is in violation to the International Human Rights treaties including national laws. Section 122 of the Correctional Service Act 1995 provides for the accommodation of prisoners in correctional institutions in PNG and provides that all accommodation provided for the use of detainees, and in particular all sleeping accommodation, shall meet all requirements of health and climatic conditions as are consistent with local living conditions.

As mentioned it can be seen that Papua New Guinea has not complied with international laws and national laws in relations to the average standard of housing prisoners, hence, prisoners within correctional institution in Papua New Guinea are being mistreated.

Food is also essential for human beings on a daily basis, it is common to assume that adult prisoners work force performs hard labor and that this should be compensated for by increasing their daily calories intake. Part 1 (20) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners  provides for the minimum standard of food quality and quantity in prisons, the part provides that every prisoner shall be provided by the administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served. The practice is somewhat different in the Papua New Guinea; there have been a number of reports as to the mistreatment of adult prisoners in Papua New Guinea in relation to the quantity and the quality of the food that is being served on a daily basis. Reports have indicated that
Very small percentage of food consumed is produced in corrective institutions and that manual trades and educations are so little fostered, mainly through lack of finance and trained professionals. Food ration is a major problem in the corrective institutions in PNG, many adult prisoners tend to be malnourished, inadequate of proper ration and more hard labor is common in most corrective institutions in Papua New Guinea. Section 123 of the Correctional Service Act 1995 provides that a detainee has a right to be provided with food that is adequate to maintain the health and wellbeing of the detainee.
It is apparent that prisoners within correctional institutions are mistreated by being underfed, malnourished which makes them vulnerable to diseases that can cause death.
Furthermore, according to reports and cases, international standard and of maintaining health of prisoners have been ignored by the authorities, health issues in Papua New Guinea has been related to many different factors which include inter alia poor accommodation, lack of proper food preparation and food quality and quantity, lack of proper toilets facilities, transmitted diseases has increase since the 1970s. The Constitution of the independent state of Papua New Guinea and other legislations such as the Correctional Service Act 1995, Correctional Service Regulation 1995 and other legislations sets the minimum standard or requirement on how prisoners should be treated in correctional institution in PNG, as mentioned there are number of international conventions that sets the requirement or the standard in which prisoners in corrective institutions should be treated, hence, Papua New Guinea tries enact legislation corresponding to the international conventions. Section 36 of the Constitution prohibits mistreatment and torture in Papua New Guinea.
Reports and cases have indicated that the maltreatment of adult prison officer in charge is common. Prisoners often suffer degrading punishment for attempting to smuggle articles (often cigarette butts) into the compound and prisoners are often punched, and sometimes forced to stand naked.   Corrective institutions or most corrective institutions around that country tend to lock adult prisoners in their cell blocks as early as 5.pm which seems excessively cautious or inconsiderate.   Prisoners are often being detained in dark, confined spaces without natural or artificial light or an appropriate supply of fresh air for lengthy periods was in direct breach of the Correctional Service Act, Regulation, constitution and international conventions against mistreatment and torture of prisoners, the officials acts amounted to physical and mental torture and treatment that is cruel and inhuman and inconsistent with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
Article 11 of CAT provides that, each State Party shall keep under systematic review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment in any territory under its jurisdiction, with a view to preventing any cases of torture. Papua New Guinea as a member of the international community needs to seriously consider legislate laws or amend them to put a stop a to the mistreatment and torture of prisoners within correctional institutions in Papua New Guinea.

Despite the National and international laws providing guides or rules to the classification of incarcerated persons within correctional institutions is Papua New Guinea; the practice is somewhat seemingly of the contrary. Based on reports and cases it is apparent that, prisoners, especially vulnerable ones are often confined with the rest of the prisoners (general and dangerous confinement areas and facilities). As a result the vulnerable ones are often sexually assaulted, beaten, bullied, or often killed by other prisoners, as mentioned prisoners should be categorized according to the health, welfare, psychological, religious and vocational needs of the detainees. As discussed the justification of punishment by the Papua New Guinea government (State) is to rehabilitate prisoners so that they can become good and law abiding citizens upon release, however when prisoners are not categorized, as mentioned prisoners are often traumatized and physiologically disturbed by the experience while imprisoned, hence, they often take years to cope with the rest of the society.
Incarcerated persons who have already been sentenced also have a right to legal advice and visitation form lawyers as per Section 75 of the Correctional Service Act 1995 which provides that lawyer, acting in the course of the lawyer’s practice, may visit a correctional institution or detainee at any time. Furthermore as mentioned, family and friend are also allowed to visit prisoners as per Section 72 of the Correctional Service Act 1995.

The practice or approach is somewhat different in Papua New Guinea; prisoners are often deprived of their rights of being visited by the outside world. It is apparent form cases mentioned above including reports that prisoners within correctional institutions in Papua New Guinea often lock up prisoner to the extent that they do not have ample time for visitation. Sometimes prisoners are locked up in solitary confinements that they miss out on visitation hours.

Prisons are institutions that are in place to punish people; however excessive punishment can destroy a person for life. In Papua New Guinea the punishment is seen to be somewhat excessive and unregulated by the authorities Human Rights Watch has learned that abusive officers do not operate in a vacuum. More typically, a culture of brutality has developed in which correctional officers know they can get away with excessive, offended unnecessary or even purely malicious violence. Incarcerated person are often raped, abused, and tortured which leads to psychological trauma.

Women are regarded as inferior being in Papua New Guinea with no right, however just imagine if they are sent to a place where their inferred right has been taken away. Women in Papua New Correctional Institutions are mistreated in the most deplorable manner despite international laws that recognize women rights in Papua New Guinea, as discussed above, women are subject to abuse and mistreatment within correctional institutions in Papua New Guinea.

In conclusion it can be seen that Papua New Guinea has a lot at stake that need to be addressed, and the last thing that we ought to worry about is a dictator that is manipulating our laws and corrupting our institutions, hence turning a blind eye on the people that are the foundation of this great nation.

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