Papua New Guinea

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Part 1: Political and Human Rights Conditions

Papua New Guinea is a constitutional, federal, multiparty, parliamentary democracy. The most recent general elections, held in June and July 2007, were marred by localized instances of voter intimidation, election-related violence, and influence peddling. A coalition government, led by former Prime Minister Michael Somare, was formed following the election. While civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, there were some instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently. The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens, but there were serious problems in some areas. Abuses included arbitrary or unlawful killings by police, police abuse of detainees, poor prison conditions, police corruption and impunity, lengthy pretrial detention, infringement of citizens' privacy rights, government corruption, violence and discrimination against women and children, discrimination against persons with disabilities, intertribal violence, and ineffective enforcement of labor laws.

Part 2: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives

In cooperation with the federal and local governments and NGOs, the U.S. Government seeks to promote democratic principles, practices, values, and human rights in its engagement in the country.

Part 3: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance

U.S. officials continue to work through the International Visitor Leadership Program to expose journalists and future leaders to democratic systems and values. Journalists participated in programs on election reporting and state and local governance. The U.S. Government actively advocates for the rights of and political participation of women through the International Women of Courage Award Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program. Recognizing women leaders provides women with strong role models and allows them to envision a future that includes women in high-level positions. The United States continues to provide training to defense personnel that emphasizes respect for human rights.

The U.S. Government also focuses significant attention on human and civil rights, including the rights of women, the rule of law, and the importance of a free and fair political process. U.S. officials have teamed with local universities, NGOs, and think tanks to make presentations throughout the nation on these issues.