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TITLE:  PAPUA NEW GUINEA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                        
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                  PAPUA NEW GUINEA


Papua New Guinea (PNG), with some 1,000 tribes and over 800 
distinct languages for a population of about 4 million, is one 
of the world's most diverse societies.  It has a federal 
parliamentary system based on universal adult suffrage.  There 
have been five constitutional and peaceful transfers of power 
since it achieved independence in 1975.  The Constitution 
resembles those of other English-speaking parliamentary 
democracies and emphasizes respect for individual rights.

The Government has constitutional authority over the armed 
forces (PNGDF), police, and intelligence organizations.  
However, weak PNGDF discipline has led to human rights abuses 
involving civilian communities near military bases and on 
Bougainville island.  Similar problems continue to plague the 
Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the country's only police 
force.

The economy is characterized by a relatively small but modern 
free enterprise sector, heavily dependent on foreign 
investment, and a traditional subsistence sector that supports 
over 80 percent of the population.  The modern sector produces 
most of the wealth and, normally, slightly less than 80 percent 
of government revenue, with the balance of the budget needs 
made up by assistance, including a cash grant from Australia.

Prime Minister Wingti has given priority to resolving the 
crisis in Bougainville Island, the last redoubt of secessionist 
insurgents, and to reestablishing law and order.  Despite an 
increased commitment of financial and military resources and a 
general decrease in violence on the island during 1993, a 
political solution to the Bougainville crisis remained elusive 
at year's end.  During the year, the Government continued to 
extend its control over Bougainville, partly because 
Bougainvilleans called for a restoration of public services and 
partly because of popular revulsion against human rights 
violations perpetrated by members of the Bougainville 
Revolutionary Army (BRA).

In 1993 efforts to control an exceptionally high crime rate led 
Parliament to strengthen anticrime law and to pass the Internal 
Security Act which legal experts attacked because of its threat 
to internationally recognized rights, including those of 
freedom of expression, association, and movement.  The Prime 
Minister has also taken the necessary first steps to amend the 
Constitution to shift the onus of proof to the defendant in 
cases of armed robbery, kidnaping, murder, and rape and to 
establish a national identification system.  At year's end, the 
proposed amendments were awaiting parliamentary action.

In October the Ombudsman filed a suit against the Internal 
Security Act, charging that it was unconstitutional.  The 
Supreme Court heard the case in November.  The ruling had not 
yet been issued at year's end.  The major human rights abuses 
continued to be extrajudicial killings by security forces and 
insurgents on Bougainville, physical abuse of detainees and 
prisoners by police, extensive discrimination against women, 
and a culture of violence, including rape.  

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

In Bougainville there continue to be credible reports of 
instances where either the PNGDF or the resistance have 
executed alleged BRA members or their supporters.  In February, 
as security forces moved into the former North Solomons 
provincial capital of Arawa, they confirmed the removal of 
three patients from the local hospital, including Ken Savia, a 
member of the province's suspended government and a minister in 
the "interim" government supportive of the BRA.  Although 
little is known of what happened to the other two persons (see 
Section 1.b.), there are credible reports that either the 
security forces themselves or the resistance forces associated 
with them executed Savia, perhaps in retribution for the 
killing of eight PNGDF soldiers during the Arawa operation.  In 
August, in Buka, BRA insurgent Moses Tseraha was also killed.  
According to official sources, he was ambushed after slipping 
into Buka from Bougainville to conduct operations against the 
community's infrastructure and government representatives.  
Other reports indicate that he had entered Buka to arrange his 
surrender but was instead hunted down and executed by the 
security forces.

A BRA spokesman claimed that security forces were responsible 
for the August deaths of five men from Matukori village in the 
Siwai area, three of whom were allegedly thrown into the sea 
from a helicopter, and the deaths of five civilians in 
September at the Tabago Care Center in southern Bougainville.  
However, the three men allegedly thrown from the helicopter 
appeared alive on national television in December.


The judiciary has so far taken few steps to investigate 
allegations of security force atrocities relating to the 
Bougainville conflict, although the magistrate system was 
reestablished in Buka during the year and government control 
extended throughout much of the island.  No progress has been 
publicly reported in an inquest ordered in 1991 by former 
Attorney General Narokobi into the deaths of 11 persons in 
North Solomons Province in 1989 and 1990.

Government sources hold the BRA responsible for 13 deaths of 
PNGDF personnel and the deaths of at least 2 policemen.  There 
are also credible reports that the BRA killed civilians.  In 
one case, the Government reported that in a 6-day period in 
January, the BRA killed 17 civilians as they traveled to and 
from their garden plots.

Outside of Bougainville, a national court in Rabaul sentenced 
four policemen to 14 years each for the 1992 murder of a 
plantation worker.  In October a PNGDF soldier was formally 
charged in the death of another soldier.

     b.  Disappearance

Security forces are believed responsible for the February 
disappearance of two patients removed from the Arawa hospital 
along with Ken Savia (see Section 1.a.).  There were also 
credible allegations of BRA-perpetrated disappearances in 
rebel-held areas.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution forbids torture and other cruel or degrading 
treatment or punishment.  Reliable reports nonetheless continue 
to suggest that PNG security forces (PNG soldiers, police, and 
correctional personnel), as well as BRA insurgents on 
Bougainville, engage in such practices.  Reports of torture or 
other abuse by the PNGDF on Bougainville originating with BRA 
rebels or sympathizers are frequently exaggerated.  Such 
reports, however, cannot be dismissed out of hand, given the 
PNGDF's difficulty in maintaining discipline.  PNGDF soldiers 
were implicated in the burning down of a Port Moresby club, 
apparently in revenge following the death of one of their 
members.

Instances of torture and abuse by PNG police were reported from 
regions throughout PNG in 1993, reflecting continued weakness 
in Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary discipline and lack of 
respect for human rights.  Villagers in the Yangora region of 
East Sepik Province, for example, complained of police 
brutality during a raid early in the year when police also 
allegedly burned their homes.  In July police were also accused 
of staging revenge raids against squatter settlements and 
villagers near the Porgera gold mine, including burning of 
homes, following the death of one policeman.  Such attacks are 
frequently used by the police as a form of collective 
punishment.  In July police in Western Highlands Province 
allegedly fired into a crowd while trying to restore calm 
during a land dispute, killing a schoolboy.  Credible reports 
of police brutality were widespread and were frequently related 
to alcohol.  In October, in Port Moresby, police allegedly beat 
a government minister during an arrest for traffic violations.

The courts do address cases of police abuse that are pressed 
through the court system, although many cases never reach the 
courts for lack of evidence or financial resources.  In April, 
in Rabaul, a court sentenced two policemen to 3 months in jail 
for assault.  A court also ordered the state to pay 
approximately $230,000 as compensation for damage caused in 
1991 by a police raid in Sepil in the Western Highlands.  
Police announced they would conduct an investigation of the 
incident near the Porgera mine.  They conducted an 
investigation into the alleged mistreatment of the Government 
minister but did not make the results public, reportedly to 
protect the minister.

Prisons are severely overcrowded and understaffed.  Jailbreaks 
are common.  Family members are allowed to visit and supply 
food to supplement the prison diet, although at Goroka's Bihute 
prison visits and privileges were curtailed for 2 months 
following a breakout.

Judicial redress is available to victims of official 
misconduct.  Nevertheless, the case brought by a Member of 
Parliament from Bougainville seeking compensation for injuries 
suffered at the hands of security force members in 1989 was 
still pending at year's end.  The Supreme Court introduced a 
simple form in 1989 enabling citizens to file human rights 
complaints with the National Court, but this innovation seems 
to have had only a marginal impact on the enforcement of 
constitutionally guaranteed human rights.

The Ombudsman Commission is empowered to investigate official 
abuse of authority and to refer cases to public prosecutors.  
Because of the expense involved in proceeding through the 
judicial system, however, few cases result in actual charges.  
PNG's free press frequently publicizes allegations of human 
rights violations by the uniformed forces.  At year's end, the 
Government had not established the human rights commission it 
had announced at the June World Conference on Human Rights.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The courts strongly enforce constitutional protections against 
arbitrary arrest and detention.  Those protections have, 
however, been weakened by the passage of the Internal Security 
Act and amendments to existing anticrime legislation.  
Judicially issued warrants are no longer required when the 
authorities suspect that a person has committed any offense 
against that act or in the case of certain, largely 
white-collar offenses.  The act further permits a person to be 
classified as a member of a proscribed organization solely on 
the basis of an affidavit filed by the police commissioner, 
without further proof.  Those under arrest have the right to 
legal counsel; accused persons are informed of charges; and 
their arrest is subject to judicial review.  Under legislation 
passed in 1993, only National or Supreme Court judges may grant 
bail in certain criminal cases involving a firearm.  In all 
other cases, bail may be granted unless a judge rules otherwise.

Exile is not practiced.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law guarantees a public trial, and the Constitution 
provides for due process; an independent court system enforces 
both.

Defendants have the right to an attorney.  Legal counsel is 
provided either by the public solicitor's office, or by the law 
society on recommendation of the solicitor's office, for those 
accused of serious offenses and unable to afford counsel.  
"Serious offenses" are generally defined as felony charges or 
any case heard in either the national or district court (as 
opposed to village or magistrate courts).  Defendants and their 
attorneys may confront witnesses, present evidence, plead their 
cases, and appeal convictions.  Given the relative shortage of 
police and judicial resources and an exceptionally high crime 
rate, periods between arrest and trial can be long.  Such 
periods of detention, however, are subject to strict judicial 
review.  The courts are completely independent of executive, 
political, or military authorities, and the Government does not 
hold any prisoners on purely political grounds.

A lack of access to Bougainville Island proper continues to 
hamper the judiciary's ability to investigate human rights 
violations there.  Nevertheless, in September a former BRA 
rebel was charged with the 1990 kidnaping of five government 
officials and businessmen.  BRA activity continues in some 
government-controlled areas, discouraging the restoration of 
judicial services in all areas except Buka.  Because of the 
passage of time and lack of reliable evidence, it is not clear 
if and when the National Court in Rabaul will be able to 
adjudicate the 66 claims of human rights abuses filed by 
Bougainvilleans against the Government that have been pending 
since 1991.  

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Privacy rights are not widely abused, but police are known to 
burn homes in the highlands to quell intertribal conflict and 
punish communities suspected of harboring criminals.  There 
have also been reports of forcible entry into homes by police 
searching for criminals or stolen goods.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Armed conflict on Bougainville Island decreased in the last 
half of the year.  Nevertheless, both sides claim the other 
committed abuses against civilians.  In January the PNGDF 
reported killing nine BRA rebels at sea as they returned to 
Bougainville from the Solomon Islands.  The BRA claimed the 
victims were unarmed civilians.  The Government also reported 
that in the last half of the year in central and southern 
Bougainville, increasing numbers of civilians left BRA- 
controlled areas seeking food, shelter, and health care.  There 
were widespread reports of BRA attacks against civilians, both 
to hamper economic activity and to intimidate them to remain in 
BRA-controlled areas.  The BRA allegedly has burned homes and 
villages throughout Bougainville in retaliation for cooperation 
with security forces and to deny opponents their use.  In 
August a Bougainville citizen who had lived for 4 years under 
BRA control claimed that the BRA had beaten him on four 
separate occasions, ostensibly because they suspected him of 
being an informer.  He also charged that the BRA had murdered 
his three brothers.


In September the Government authorized the PNG Red Cross to 
reestablish a humanitarian assistance office in Wakunai on 
Bougainville Island after resisting earlier requests.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech, including 
freedom of the broadcast media and publications.  A tradition 
of independence in the news media, an effective judiciary, and 
a functioning democratic system of government have helped 
promote these freedoms in society.  

The Government has been actively debating an enhanced role for 
the Department of Communications in regulating the media.  The 
Government also holds a majority share of the second daily 
newspaper, which started publishing in November.  This 
increased government interest in the media, which are 
traditionally independent and privately owned, has provoked 
some concern, but there have been no overt efforts to censor 
the press.  There have been subtle efforts on the part of 
government officials to pressure the host of a popular radio 
talk show, but these threats dissipated in the face of strong 
public support for the radio host.  There were credible reports 
that the Government also used subtle pressure to keep reports 
of the proceedings looking into the legality of the Prime 
Minister's September resignation and reelection off the front 
page, although the reporting was not censored.  The 
restrictions on access of journalists to Bougainville remain 
another controversial issue, but more reporters have been able 
to cover the court proceedings than in the past, and the 
Government does not attempt to censor their coverage.

The nation's only television station has been engaged in a 
running battle with the censorship board over alleged 
pornography in some of its programs.  While this dispute has 
provoked general debate over media freedoms, it is not 
political in nature but rather concerns the right of the 
censors to define and ban what they consider to be 
pornography.  Two Australian television news show programs were 
banned in 1993, one on the singer Madonna and one on child 
abuse by Australian priests.

Citizens and foreigners are also occasionally convicted of 
possession of pornography under the Censorship Act.  Freedom of 
expression, both in public and in academia, is not restricted.  
The courts and the Ombudsman Commission have supported the 
right of free speech over government prerogative in most of the 
cases that they have been asked to address.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Private associations and public assemblies are legal.  
Associations do not require formal registration.  International 
affiliation of church and civic groups is also freely 
permitted.  Public demonstrations require police approval; this 
is frequently denied on the grounds that such activities 
encourage bystanders to engage in vandalism and violence.  
Police in the National Capital District did, however, grant 
permission in September for a protest march on Parliament 
organized by university students following parliamentary 
maneuvering in which the Prime Minister engineered his own 
reelection.  They successfully discouraged another protest 
rally several days later organized by unknown persons.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There are no restrictions on and no discrimination against the 
practice of religion, which is protected by the Constitution.  
Many indigenous and Christian denominations flourish side by 
side with small Buddhist and Muslim groups.  Expatriate 
missionaries have traditionally moved freely throughout the 
country and provided most social services in many remote areas.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

PNG security forces continue to require travelers to Buka and 
Bougainville Islands to obtain permits.  Even when their visits 
have been authorized by the Prime Minister, visitors have been 
turned back by the security forces.  The Government prohibits 
unauthorized vessels or aircraft from calling at or landing on 
either island.  Otherwise, freedom of movement within and 
outside the country has not been restricted in practice.  
However, the Internal Security Act, which came into force in 
midyear, authorizes the Government to exclude from any part of 
the country anyone convicted under the act or likely to commit 
an offense under the act.  In addition, the Government has 
announced its intention to introduce legislation establishing a 
national system of registration and identification cards.  
Provincial politicians continue to encourage squatters from 
other parts of the country to return to their home regions.


The Government hosts between 9,000 and 10,000 Melanesian 
refugees from Irian Jaya, the neighboring province of 
Indonesia.  Approximately 6,000, many of whom have land or 
kinship ties with Papua New Guineans, live along the border 
just inside Papua New Guinea.  They are not provided services 
by either the Government or by the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  While Papua New Guinea 
recognizes Irian Jaya as an integral part of Indonesia, the 
Government nonetheless grants asylum to qualified refugees, and 
regulations allow foreign citizens who meet the 10-year 
residency requirements to take up PNG citizenship.  The 
Government administers UNHCR assistance to about 3,700 refugees 
at the sole remaining camp at East Awin.

There were no known forced repatriations of Irian Jayan 
insurgents to Indonesia during 1993.  Over 200 were voluntarily 
repatriated.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens freely exercise the right to change their government 
through direct elections with a secret ballot and universal 
adult suffrage.  The voters elect a unicameral Parliament made 
up of 109 members from all 19 provinces and the Port Moresby 
National Capital District.  Any citizen can stand for election, 
and several foreign-born citizens sit in Parliament.  With a 
multiplicity of small parties, coalition governments tend to be 
weak and shifting; none has yet survived its 5-year electoral 
mandate, although in September Prime Minister Wingti took steps 
to ensure that his coalition remained in office for the entire 
period, provoking a constitutional crisis.

In Henganofi, new elections for Parliament ordered by the court 
following disputed 1992 by-elections were contested by 10 
candidates and conducted peacefully.  Postelection violence 
caused by disgruntled supporters of losing candidates continues 
to occur, however.  In July, in Simbu Province, such 
disturbances reportedly caused at least 19 deaths following 
provincial elections.

Although there are no legal barriers to their participation in 
political life, women are not found in significant numbers in 
senior positions in government or in politics (see Section 5).  
No women sit in Parliament or in the Cabinet.  


Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

There are no official barriers to the formation of human rights 
groups.  The PNG Association for Human Rights, formed in 1992, 
has been relatively inactive.  A second nongovernmental 
organization focused on human rights and the environment, the 
Individual and Community Rights Advocacy Forum (ICRAF), was 
established early in the year.  Numerous localized 
nongovernmental organizations--some dealing only tangentially 
with human rights issues, others focusing almost exclusively on 
women and children--exist throughout the country.  
Nongovernmental organizations have exercised their right to 
comment on human rights issues in PNG media without any known 
government interference or retribution.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution in March 
urging the Government to permit international factfinding 
missions and calling on the Government to negotiate with all 
factions of the Bougainville peoples.  While the Government has 
invited potential donors, including the European Community and 
participants in the Lome convention, to visit Bougainville, it 
has not extended invitations to human rights nongovernmental 
organizations that have expressed interest in conducting 
investigations into alleged human rights abuses.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Extreme ethnic and geographic diversity prevents domination by 
any one tribe or clan.  The democratically elected government, 
based on loose coalitions, cannot afford to favor one group 
over another consistently.

     Women

Despite extensive rights for women provided by the Constitution 
and law, traditional patterns of discrimination against women 
result in a significant denial of human rights.  Some women in 
the modern sector have achieved senior positions, serving as 
doctors, lawyers, business executives, civil servants, and in 
high government positions.  Despite constitutional and legal 
guarantees regarding family law, marriage, and property rights, 
most women, even those in urban areas, still live in a system 
that relegates them to second-class status.  Village courts 
tend to enforce traditional attitudes and values that oppress 
both women and youth.  Violence against women, including 
domestic violence and gang rape, is prevalent.  Some tribal and 
clan cultures emphasize antagonism between the sexes.  While 
women are ostensibly protected by their family and clan, they 
are nonetheless often victims of violence and force.  
Traditional village deterrents, such as requirements for 
compensation, are breaking down.  Attacks on women remain 
common in intertribal warfare as well.

Fear of rape, especially gang rape, is justifiably common among 
women and constrains not only their movements and social 
activities but also their ability to exercise authority and 
discipline in business and professional activities.  Rape is 
punishable by prison sentences, but assailants are seldom 
apprehended.  Most areas without access to law enforcement 
services rely on "payback," a traditional form of revenge, 
directed at the offender's tribe or clan, to deter or punish 
rape.  Domestic violence such as wife-beating, also common, is 
usually viewed by police and citizen alike as a private, family 
matter.  Such violence is often related to alcohol.

Village court justices tend to be overly severe on women, for 
instance, by imposing jail terms on women found guilty of 
adultery, while letting men off lightly.  There is no pattern 
of similar discrimination against women by circuit-riding 
National Court justices.  Indeed, the latter frequently annul 
village court sentences and free unjustly imprisoned women.  
Both the Government and public organizations are working to 
upgrade the status of women, so far with limited results.  The 
Government provides a grant to the National Council of Women 
and has instituted an Office of Women's Affairs in the 
Department of Home Affairs and Youth.

     Children

Approximately 44 percent of PNG's population is under the age 
of 16.  In PNG's traditional clan system, children are 
generally cared for within the extended family, in accordance 
with financial resources and the tribe's access to services.  
Because of the geographic isolation and remoteness of many 
villages, an estimated 38 percent of children under 5 are 
malnourished.  Though infant mortality rates for children under 
5 have declined, they remain extremely high at 114 per 1,000 
live births.  Maternal mortality is the fourth highest in the 
world, at 900 per 100,000 births.  Pneumonia and other acute 
respiratory infections, together with childbirth, diarrhea, and 
malaria, are the main causes of serious illness and death.  
Although statistics are not available, child abuse does occur 
but does not appear to be as prevalent as wife-beating.  

Education, a government priority, takes approximately 15 
percent of the Government's budget.  While the percentage of 
eligible students enrolled in primary schools has increased 
substantially, only 38 percent complete primary studies.  Only 
15 percent of secondary age children are enrolled in school, 
due in part to high costs and limited availability.  Vocational 
schools are limited and underfunded.  In 1991 the Government 
adopted the National Youth Service Act, aimed at increasing 
youth involvement in agriculture, tourism, and civic action, 
but it has not been implemented.  Most programs to protect and 
develop youth are operated by nongovernmental organizations and 
religious organizations.  Many government programs are severely 
underfunded.  Within its limited resources, the Government is 
committed to the welfare and protection of the rights of 
children.

     People with Disabilities

Through the National Board for the Disabled, the Government 
provides limited funding for the disabled to approximately 14 
nongovernmental organizations which provide services.  The 
Government does not provide programs or services directly.  
Services and health care for the disabled, except for that 
provided by the traditional family and clan system, do not 
exist in several of the country's provinces.  No legislation 
mandates accessibility for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The right to form and join labor unions is protected by law, 
subject to registration by the Department of Labor.  While the 
Government does not use registration as a form of control over 
unions, an unregistered union has no legal standing with the 
Department of Labor or before the courts and, accordingly, 
cannot operate effectively.  Unionized workers account for 
one-half of the 250,000 wage earners in the formal economy and 
are organized into some 50 trade unions, most of which are 
associated with the Trade Unions Congress.  Unions are 
independent of the Government and of political parties.  They 
may freely affiliate with international organizations.


Both public and private-sector unions exercised their right to 
strike in 1993.  Concerned over perceived politicization of the 
appointments of departmental heads, approximately 100 attorneys 
and staff in the Office of the Attorney-General, with support 
from the Public Employees Association, struck to revoke a 
controversial appointment as Secretary of Justice.  After a 
week, the strike was abandoned in favor of a legal challenge, 
which was ultimately accepted by the courts.  Mining workers 
have been responsible for the most visible union activity in 
the private sector.  Laborers at the Ok Tedi Mine struck three 
times in 1993--first over wages, then management activities, 
and finally work-related conditions.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Constitution provides for the right to engage in collective 
bargaining, to join industrial organizations, and to seek 
employment.  These rights are exercised freely.  In past years, 
the International Labor Organization (ILO) has admonished the 
Government to amend the law that gives it discretionary power 
to cancel arbitration awards or declare wage agreements void 
when they are contrary to government policy.  This has not been 
accomplished because of a lack of resources.  The ILO has now 
offered its technical assistance.

The law prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers against 
union members and organizers.  The Department of Labor and 
Employment, as well as the courts, resolve complaints.  There 
are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution forbids slavery and all forms of forced or 
compulsory labor, and there were no reports of their practice 
in 1993.

     d.  Minimum age for employment of children

The minimum working age, as established in Chapter 373 of the 
Employment Act, is 18.  However, children between the ages of 
11 and 18 may be employed in family related work provided they 
have parental permission, a medical clearance, and a work 
permit from a labor office.  Such employment is rare, except in 
subsistence agriculture.  The Department of Labor and 
Employment and the courts take steps to enforce the minimum age 
law, but they are hampered by a lack of resources.


     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wages for the private sector are set by the Minimum 
Wage Board, a quasi-governmental body with worker and employer 
representation.  The most recent determination, which became 
effective in October 1992, dramatically reduced the minimum 
wage to $22.50 (kina 22.96) per week.  Approximately 10 percent 
of private-sector wage earners are subject to the minimum wage, 
and the determination represents a setback, particularly for 
new and unskilled workers.  The minimum wage would not support 
a decent standard of living for a worker and family who exist 
solely on the cash economy.  There is no means to judge 
statistically the effect of the new minimum wage, though 
employment in the formal sector continued to decline slightly.  
The Department of Labor has received no formal complaints that 
higher wage workers have been fired in order that a lower cost 
replacement might be hired, although union leaders claim that 
this has occurred.  Minimum wage levels, allowances, rest 
periods, holidays, leave, and overtime are regulated by law.  
The workweek is limited by law to 42 hours (44 in rural areas).

Enforcement of the Industrial Health and Safety Law and related 
regulations is the responsibility of the Department of Labor.  
The law requires that inspections take place on a regular 
basis, but, due to a shortage of inspectors, they occur only 
when requested by workers or unions.  In 1992 businesses have 
been closed on several different occasions due to violation of 
safety laws.  Health and safety regulations are still under 
revision.



[end of document]

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