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Saturday 30 January 2016 | Published in Regional


APIA – A couple of guys described as “dumbasses” have earned the wrath of Samoans in Samoa and all over the world for giving the television cameras ‘the bird’ on Saturday night during the Rumble in Paradise boxing event.

The fight was televised live by SkyTV in New Zealand, Australia and other countries.

The duo’s decision to ‘flip the bird’ during one of the bouts when the camera zoomed in on their group has led to widespread condemnation from the Samoas on social media.

According to an online definition, to ‘flip the bird’ is to stick one’s middle finger up at someone as a sign of contempt.

The men’s behaviour has become a big talking point in the aftermath of the fight.

Describing them as “idiots”, one Samoan posted on Facebook: “Here were the fights being televised around the world showcasing our local talent. An event our tiny island nation rarely gets the opportunity to host.

“And these two ******** decide it’s a good idea to flip the bird. I wonder if your parents are alive. Wonder what they’d say about you. If any of you are in Samoa and see these two ******** around, someone slap the taste out of their mouths.”

Another wrote: “They are bunch of wankers. Their faces already been captured on live TV and they should be banned from entering any major events in Samoa. Their villages should banish them for giving their villages bad names.”

“It was not possible to determine who the two men are,” the Samoa Observer reports. “But we can tell you that they sat in the corporate area where alcohol was flowing that night.”

Another issue involved a local boxing referee who swore in Samoan at one of the boxers during the bout. That incident was also caught on camera during the live telecast. - SA

Plight of women in PNG ‘horrific’

PORT MORESBY – A Human Rights Watch spokesperson says women in Papua New Guinea are being ignored and marginalised, and the government isn’t doing anything about it.

The global NGO has released its Annual World Report and PNG is described as one of the most dangerous places to be a woman or girl, with rates of family and sexual violence among the highest in the world.

It says an estimated 70 per cent of women experience rape or assault in their lifetime, but few perpetrators are brought to justice.

The deputy director of the Asia Division, Phil Robertson, told Radio New Zealand’s Dateline Pacific that the plight of women in PNG is “horrific”.

“It’s a real crisis for Papua New Guinea, this violence against women and girls, and something that we have been pressing Papua New Guinea to take action on for quite some time.

“Finally in 2013 they did adopt a Family Protection Act, a piece of legislation that if implemented would do a lot. The problem is that the law is not being effectively implemented in any way shape or form so the family violence and the violence against women continues essentially unabated.

“There continues to be violence against women and girls by violent mobs sometimes accusing them of sorcery or witchcraft.

“And the police continue to have their hands out, sometimes demanding money to take up a case or investigate it – but then often refusing to press charges even when criminal intent is found.

DATELINE PACIFIC: You talk about the Family Protection Act, why do you think it’s not being implemented properly?

“Well, the problem I think is that prosecutors and the police are still not taking this problem seriously and they’re not having political pressure placed on them by higher ups in the government to do so.

“There’s still an orientation when one of these crimes occur to sort of try to mediate, perhaps negotiate a compensation package which the police take a cut of – nothing to really recognise that these are crimes that need to be prosecuted in court and that people need to go to jail for doing these things.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: The police, you talk about them sometimes turning a blind eye and some of them accepting cash to actually take up a case, who’s responsible here for changing attitudes in the police?

“Ultimately the government is. I think the government needs to be much more vigilant in demanding that police corruption stop and that instances of excessive use of force by police are effectively prosecuted.

“There was a case in 2015 in early January where the police started shooting around in the market in Port Moresby and killed a couple of market vendors and no one has been held accountable for that.

“So the police are really a law unto themselves. That’s a fundamental problem and the bigger issue of corruption is not taken seriously by the government.

“In fact it’s very interesting that the prime minister himself, who has been accused of serious allegations of corruption has, instead of being prosecuted,has been weakening the anti-corruption agency Task Force Sweep, essentially starving them of funding. There’s been no money provided to the anti-corruption unit of the government since 2013 because he doesn’t like what they’re finding.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: So there’s essentially no one keeping the government honest at the moment?

“That’s correct, and the government itself not taking seriously its obligation to protect the human rights of its people.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: So the report found an estimated 70 per cent of women experienced rape or assault in their lifetime, are you able to measure that against previous surveys, is that getting worse?

“It’s continuing to just be horrific. You know the problem is that this violence is day in day out in Papua New Guinea and there’s been no sort of effective action to sort of break the trend or break the action and try to stop it.

“ I would characterise the plight of women and their rights as basically bumping along the bottom there in Papua New Guinea, essentially ignored, marginalised by the government and not dealt seriously by the police despite the fact that there is now this law that even sets up special units in the police, the so-called family and sexual violence units, which are supposed to be taking these types of cases on as a matter of priority.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: It seems surprising that the government is not being embarrassed into urgent action. Does it come down to women not having a voice in PNG?

“I think it’s partly that they don’t have a voice, partly that women are being marginalised by this violence so they have less course for effective action.

“And partly because so much of what happens in Papua New Guinea never makes the news in the first place.

“For the larger international community, Papua New Guinea is sort of a remote corner. Try and get larger action at the UN, the Human Rights Council, the UN in Geneva – it is difficult simply because Papua New Guinea is not often in the headlines.

“This kind of abuse however should be put in the headlines and should cause the government to try to get serious about implementing the law and policies that they have passed but simply not taken up.”

- Dateline Pacific