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UPR Project at BCU: Papua New Guinea

Our stakeholder report to Papua New Guinea’s Universal Periodic Review, led by Professor Jon Yorke, makes specific recommendations to the government to abolish the death penalty.

Flag of Papua New Guinea, part of the UPR Project at BCU.

Researchers

Consultancy background

In March 2021, the UPR Project at BCU submitted a report to PNG’s third cycle UPR, focusing on capital punishment. We make specific recommendations to the government of PNG calling for the initiation of an official moratorium on the death penalty, as a step towards domestic de jure abolition of the punishment.

Download the stakeholder report

On 17 August 2021 the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights cited the UPR Project at BCU’s Stakeholder Report on Papua New Guinea: 

The UPR Project at BCU recommended to create a PNG National Human Rights Institution and increase its support for the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions in their important contribution to the regional abolition of the death penalty (para. 15).

In providing this recommendation to PNG’s UPR, Professor Jon Yorke built upon his work with the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions in Myanmar in 2017, and recommended that PNG similarly engage with the APF’s significant work on the abolition of the death penalty through NHRI engagement (see https://www.asiapacificforum.net/human-rights/death-penalty/). The Working Group affirmed this recommendation for the creation of an NHRI to work with APF to help promote the abolition of the death penalty, with a further citation on the legal process for abolition under domestic law:  

The UPR Project at BCU recommended that the government of Papua New Guinea should adopt an official moratorium on the death penalty, amend national legislation to abolish the punishment in all circumstances; and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (para. 31).

The Working Group cited our recommendations for the incremental removal of the death penalty as an achievable aim under PNG’s national legislation: (a) an official moratorium to allow national discussions to lead the country to abolition; (b) abolish the death penalty under national law; and (c) ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR which would then provide the platform for PNG to positively contribute to the growing international community against the death penalty. 

(Outcome of the review yet to be published)

About the UPR Project at BCU

The Centre for Human Rights has been engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) since 2016. Under the auspice of the Human Rights Council, the UPR is an intergovernmental process providing a review of the human rights record of all Member States. Through the UPR Project at BCU, the CHR engages with the mechanism through taking part in the UPR Pre-sessions, providing capacity building for UPR stakeholders and National Human Rights Institutions, and the filing of stakeholder reports in selected sessions.

The Pre-sessions are organised by the NGO, UPRinfo, which brings together UN Permanent Missions, national human rights institutions, and civil society organisations to discuss the key human rights issues in the member states to be considered in the UPR. It seeks to identify stakeholder needs within individual member states, in order to help ensure that stakeholder issues and the claimed human rights violations are adequately reported to the Pre-session to help inform the UPR in the Human Rights Council. The UPR Project has engaged in numerous countries’ Pre-sessions, including Sudan and Namibia, having discussions with government delegations and civil society organisations across the world, and impacting upon recommendations made at the UPR.

In September 2019, the UPR Project at BCU submitted its first stakeholder report to the USA’s UPR. Since then, we have submitted reports to the UPRs of multiple countries, including Myanmar, Namibia, Eswatini, Sudan, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, South Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Our reports are frequently cited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.