Papua New Guinea. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the government warned that this year's
edition of the weather phenomenon El Niņo was about to cause
the worst drought in 20 years in Papua New Guinea. The state
of emergency was announced in two highland provinces that
are important for coffee, an export commodity. But the
concern was greatest for the small private farms that most
residents feed on. At the end of the year, operations at the Porgera gold mine were halted due to the drought. The water
level was too low in the reservoir used in the ore process.
At the beginning of the year, hundreds of men were
starving in the refugee detention camp on the island of
Manus. They protested against the conditions in the camp and
the long wait for asylum investigations, but also against
plans to settle in Papua New Guinea. Their refugee
destination had been Australia, which refused to accept them
and instead agreed with Papua New Guinea and the Nauru
kingdom to house the refugees at Australian expense. Many of
the strikers were arrested, and guards and police were
charged with assault.
The Australian Commission on Human Rights reported child
abuse in the displaced refugee camps. The Commission's
leader also criticized rich Australia for settling the
refugees in Papua New Guinea, which had difficult economic
conditions and difficult social conditions.
Three Australian guards were charged in July with rape at
the Manus camp. Rape can be punished with death in Papua New
Guinea. Before the report was investigated, they disappeared
from the island to Australia, causing anger among police and
locals. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill demanded that the men
be extradited to Papua New Guinea for trial. O'Neill
expressed frustration at more Australians who evicted Papua
New Guinea's judicial system through rapid evacuation.
Accusations of corruption against Prime Minister Peter
O'Neill continued throughout the year, while trying to fight
those who investigated him. O'Neill had dissolved the
anti-corruption agency Taskforce Sweep the year before, a
court had rejected the decision but the government refused
to fund the agency.
Without government funding, the agency had 350 cases
under investigation at the beginning of the year and 91
cases in court. It was named as the most successful
corruption hunter in the country's history and received
international acclaim. But two Australian lawyers who
participated in the corruption investigation against O'Neill
were refused entry into Papua New Guinea. The ban was lifted
by a court in October.
The government was criticized for a bank loan during the
year of the equivalent of SEK 8 billion for the purchase of
shares in the country's largest oil company. O'Neill was
charged that the decision on the loan was not made lawfully
and that the debt was doubtful in a stressed financial
situation. Two former prime ministers, Michael Somare and
Mekere Morauta, left the ruling party in October and
demanded an inquiry into the loan. O'Neill argued that the
charges were political. Sommer was said to have been offered
the opportunity to become the opposition prime ministerial
candidate. The opposition demanded mistrust of O'Neill, but
this won the vote in parliament.