University of Minnesota

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination, Papua New Guinea, U.N. Doc. A/48/18, paras. 560-573 (1993).



Forty-first session


Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Papua New Guinea

560. In its concluding observations adopted at its forty-first session (see A/47/18, paras. 265-266) the Committee requested further information from the Government of Papua New Guinea on the situation in Bougainville, in accordance with article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention. No information was received in response to that request.

561. The Committee considered the implementation of the Convention in Papua New Guinea, and, in particular, the situation in Bougainville, at its 1007 meeting held on 17 August 1993 (see CERD/C/SR.1007).

562. Members of the Committee focused on the situation in Bougainville, which is one of the State party's most resource-rich areas and had the world's largest copper mine.

563. It was noted that on 17 May 1990 the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) had proclaimed the island a republic and established a new interim government. The Government of Papua New Guinea had rejected that unilateral declaration of independence.

564. Members of the Committee expressed concern over statements by the self-proclaimed government of Bougainville that numerous human rights violations, including the torture of civilians, had been committed by the forces of Papua New Guinea stationed in Bougainville. In that regard, there had been reports that those forces had abused unarmed Bougainvillains during the emergency which had been declared by the Government, and that there had been indiscriminate killings of civilians by members of the defence force, beatings of suspected rebel sympathizers and search and destroy operations in villages near the copper mine which had turned thousands of villagers into refugees.

565. Members of the Committee also noted with concern reports that there had been large-scale human rights violations by members of BRA.

Concluding observations

566. At its 1010th meeting, held on 19 August 1993, the Committee adopted the following concluding observations.

(a) Principal subjects of concern

567. The Committee regretted that the State party had not fulfilled its obligations under article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to report regularly on the legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures which had been adopted to give effect to the provisions of the Convention. The Committee also regretted that no information had been received pursuant to the request made at its forty-first session for further information on the situation in Bougainville and that no representative was present to respond to the questions and comments of the Committee.

568. The Committee was concerned at reports of serious human rights violations in Bougainville, including summary executions and population transfers.

569. The Committee was also concerned about large-scale mining operations in Bougainville without due regard to the rights of the population and the adverse effects of environmental degradation.

(b) Suggestions and recommendations

570. The Committee strongly recommended that the Government of Papua New Guinea should resume its dialogue with the Committee by fulfilling its reporting obligations under the Convention. In that regard, the Committee reiterated its request for information on the ethnic composition of the population and economic, social and cultural indicators pertaining to the situation of the various ethnic groups; on legislative and other measures taken under article 2 of the Convention to prohibit racial discrimination; and, in particular, on developments in Bougainville. The Committee suggested that the State party should avail itself of the services of the Centre for Human Rights in the preparation of its report.

571. The Committee suggested that the State party should cooperate with international fact-finding missions which were seeking to assist Papua New Guinea in the resolution of the conflict in Bougainville. In that connection, the Committee stressed that due consideration should be given to the principles contained in the Convention.

(c) Further action

572. The Committee expressed concern over reports on the human rights situation prevailing in Bougainville and requested that information concerning the human rights situation in the whole territory of Papua New Guinea that was available to the Secretary-General should be shared with the Committee.

573. The Committee expressed its willingness to accept any request which might be made by Papua New Guinea to provide technical assistance with a view to re-establishing a dialogue between the Government and the groups currently controlling Bougainville.



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