Access to Justice and Human Rights
Papua New Guinea faces rising conflict, poverty and instability, in part as a result of extractive industries’ lack of responsible engagement with local communities. This makes concerns about transnational companies’ exploitation of natural resources more than a question of sustainable development practices, but also a human rights issue. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) human rights-based rule of law program in Papua New Guinea will help empower communities with knowledge of relevant local laws and international standards.
We will work with our local partners to develop a methodology for assessing corporate compliance with Papua New Guinea’s national human rights law as well as relevant international and industry standards. The methodology will be piloted in a select site to raise awareness at the community level and produce much-needed documentation on which to base future legal advocacy, preventing violence and conflict. Additionally, ABA ROLI will conduct a series of trainings designed to build legal capacity to identify and respond to human rights violations.
Without government engagement and a judicial system capable of fairly adjudicating abuse complaints, efforts to increase awareness and access to justice will have a limited impact. To address this, ABA ROLI and its local partners will design a training curriculum that includes human rights trainings for judges. The trainings will help judges employ a rights-based approach to disputes arising from natural resource development. Furthermore, ABA ROLI plans to coordinate with local stakeholders to develop strategies for legal and institutional reform to improve human rights protections.