Concerns about alleged incidents in PNG raised by AFP member

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The AFP is aware of concerns raised by an AFP member regarding alleged incidents and human rights abuses in PNG in 2013 and 2014. These allegations are extremely concerning. The AFP takes any issue raised by its members deployed in foreign missions seriously.

The AFP received a large amount of material from the member in both July 2015 and September 2015 relating to a number of matters during his deployment in PNG during 2013 and 2014. The AFP reviewed this material and did not identify any matters requiring further action by the AFP.

The AFP has not received any official reports from its deployed members in PNG alleging that the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) has been involved in murders. However, the AFP is aware of claims of this nature that have been published in social media and traditional media channels. The AFP is also aware of claims by members of the public and media outlets relating to instances of alleged misconduct by the RPNGC.

The operating environment in PNG is difficult and the nature of the AFP work is extremely challenging. However, the AFP considers ongoing positive engagement with police at the frontline and an open dialogue with the RPNGC executive is the most effective way to encourage and advance progress on human rights and accountability in the RPNGC.

It is important to emphasise that the AFP does not have the jurisdiction to conduct investigations in Papua New Guinea. Although our members are in uniform, PNG-Australian Police Partnership (PNG-APP) officers undertake advisory roles only and do not exercise police powers. The AFP similarly does not have jurisdiction to investigate allegations of misconduct by the RPNGC.

The focus of the PNG-APP is on advising and mentoring RPNGC members in the delivery of policing services in accordance with the rule of law.

Should deployed AFP members become aware of allegations relating to human rights abuse or criminal conduct of any kind, there are well-established protocols and guidelines in place for such conduct to be reported to senior AFP management.

The AFP does not tolerate, participate in, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of any individual or group for any purpose.

The AFP in PNG raises concerns about the conduct of the RPNGC members with the senior executive of the RPNGC on an as-required basis. As part of ongoing and regular discussions with RPNGC senior executive, the AFP suggests strategies for change and improvement to support the development of an open and accountable police service.

Ultimately, the AFP is confident that its presence in PNG has had a positive impact within the RPNGC and looks forward to continued positive engagement with the RPNGC.

 

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