Monday, June 20, 2011

ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific News, 20 June 2011

Nauru signs refugee convention

Nauru has formally signed preliminary documents for adopting the United Nations Convention on Refugees.

President Marcus Stephen formally signed the instruments of accession last Friday and the papers have been forwarded to the UN Secretary-General.

Signatories to the convention commit to key human rights principles, including not returning refugees to countries from which they fled.

The Australian political Opposition says signing the documents strengthens its argument for Australia to send aslyum seekers to Nauru for processing, not Malaysia.

The Australian Government has been negotiating a deal to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia and in return accept 4,000 refugees.

Naura's Justice Secretary David Lambourne told Radio Australia his government agreed to becoming part of the UN Convention after some serious thought.

"Obviously, this is very much a live issue both for Australia and the region, so it's something that has been under active consideration for the past 12 months or so," he said.

Killings raise PNG organised crime fears

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader Belden Namah has expressed concern about a possible organised crime syndicate operating in PNG.

There have been a number of killings in Papua New Guinea in recent months.

A couple killed in Mount Hagen a month ago and a gangster-type assassination of a Malaysian shop manager in Port Moresby last week have added to concerns.

The shop manager, Wong Tee Tee, had lived and worked in PNG for more than 20 years.

Police say they have yet to establish any motive for the killing and nor do they have any suspects.

The opposition leader has told Pacific Beat it appears to be the work of criminals who have entered the country illegally.

"You know people are getting visas, even getting PNG passports who are not qualified - never worked in PNG - through corrupt means and coming into our country," he said.

"There is no proper monitoring system in place.

"Although we talk about political stability in the last two terms of parliament, this government is really disorganised, disoriented and not addressing these issues."

Samoan push for common Pacific currency

There is a push in Samoa for a common Pacific currency.

Many Pacific nations still use the New Zealand and Australian dollars as their base currencies.

The Samoan opposition says it is time to choose between the two.

Opposition MP Dr Aisoli Va'ai told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat the Australian dollar is his preferred option.

"I think it would be much more easy and much more convenient if we could have one Pacific currency," Dr Aisoli Va'ai said.

"And I think the Australian dollar would be a better choice than the New Zealand dollar because of its bigger economy than New Zealand."

Fijians divided over Tevita Mara

Overseas Fijians who want democracy restored to the country are split over whether they should cooperate with former senior Fiji army officer, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who fled to Tonga recently.

The Auckland based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji opposes Ratu Tevita visiting New Zealand this week because of his involvement in the 2006 coup.

But Stuart Huggett, the former chairman of the Fiji Public Service Commission, disagrees. He has written to the New Zealand Government saying that many expatriate Fiji citizens believe the former senior military figure is someone who they could and should work alongside.

Former senior Fiji military man, Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, says he is prepared to work with Tevita Mara.

"Cutting Tevita Mara off, sending him to purgatory so the speak, will not solve the problem in Fiji," said Baledrokadroka, who is now based at the Australian National University in Canberra.

"My career was destroyed by the regime, I was thrown in jail by the regime. I am prepared to listen to Tevita. So if I am prepared to listen to Tevita then I think everyone else in Australia should be giving him the benefit of the doubt."

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