22 Aug 2023

Pacific news in brief for August 22

12:21 pm on 22 August 2023
FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Inauguration FCF HQ with New Caledonia Football Federation President Gilles Tavergeaux as part of his visit to Noumea.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Inauguration FCF HQ with New Caledonia Football Federation President Gilles Tavergeaux as part of his visit to Noumea. Photo: Bryan Gauvan - FIFA/High Park Communication

Climate change - FIFA boss

Former Australian footballer and human rights activist Craig Foster has criticised FIFA for insufficient action against climate change at the just-completed Women's World Cup.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has used a private jet to visit all 11 Oceania Football Confederation member nations and territories during the event.

He is believed to have travelled more than 40,000km in the past few weeks.

Foster claimed the governing body had been influenced by oil-rich Saudi Arabia and gas-rich Qatar, which held last year's men's FIFA World Cup, in failing to fulfil obligations under the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework.

"True to form, FIFA are signatories to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework, which compels them not just to create sustainable events, but actually to advocate for climate action in the Paris Agreement," he said.

"They have not, of course."

Solomon Islands - 2021 riots

The Honiara Magistrate Court has sentenced a man to 18 months in prison for obstructing police officers during the 2021 riots.

Solomon Star reports Rubenson Kedi used tables to put up roadblocks around a police station - impeding efforts of law enforcement to quell rioters.

The riot - which broke out during a protest against a government decision to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan - resulted in the deaths of three people and over $US50 million in damages.

West Papua - violence

West Papua Action Aotearoa has written to the New Zealand prime minister and the foreign minister, saying escalating state violence against the indigenous Papuan people should not go unaddressed.

In November 2022, New Zealand's representative at the UN Human Rights Council made a statement recommending that Indonesia upholds, respects and promotes its human rights obligations in Papua - including freedom of assembly, speech, expression, the press, and the rights of women and minorities.

West Papua Action Aotearoa is urging the New Zealand Government to renew its representations.

West Papua - deforestation

Greenpeace Indonesia's Forest Campaigner says West Papua has lost more than 600,000 hectares of natural forest since the turn of the century.

Jubi TV reports Nico Wamafma saying during the period from 2000 to 2020, Papua had lost natural forests of 641,400ha.

Greenpeace's research shows this deforestation occurred due to the increasingly massive licensing of land-based extractive industries, which it says damage the rights of indigenous people.

Wamafma said the formation of four new provinces resulting from the division of Papua also accelerated the rate of deforestation.

He says there are now 34.4 million hectares of natural forests in Papua.

New Caledonia - sharks

New Caledonia is set to install a 758m metal net at Baie des Citrons to act as an underwater fence and prevent sharks from swimming too close to the shore.

For months, only part of the Noumea beach has been open to swimmers after a series of shark attacks.

The incidents, one of which killed an Australian tourist, have prompted a culling programme and plans for a shark net.

The Guardian reports both of those have led to a backlash from scientists, environmental groups and residents.

PNG - suspension

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force Commander has been suspended.

The National Executive Council has not stated the reasons for the suspension, but it comes ahead of an inquiry into the deaths of two soldiers during a training exercise.

Prime Minister James Marape said the Defence Force "faced internal challenges in convening the General Board of Inquiry" into the deaths and injuries of the servicemen.

American Samoa

American Samoa's acting governor says dozens of new security guards could be taken on as part of a plan to prevent prison escapes.

Talauega Ale says they are taking a closer look at the issue of overcrowding within the facility and completion of a new building.

Local media have reported inmates escaping, but the government has not yet provided data as to the number of recent escapes from prison.

West Papua - students

Up to 1000 students from West Papua could sign up for a two-year internship in Europe.

Antara reports the target is engineering students in the fourth semester and graduates of vocational high schools who have at least completed Diploma 2.

Chairman of the Papua Province, Kadin Ronald Antonio, said it is a good opportunity for Papuan students and could land them good jobs in the future.