The Papua New Guinea Centre for Judicial Excellence (PNGCJE) conducted an awareness on Access to Justice at Yule Island in the Kairuku Hiri District of Central Province.

The purpose of the awareness was to help the ordinary people in the community have an understanding of their constitutional rights and freedoms, and how to access justice through the Courts if their rights are violated or infringed.

The program consisted of two (2) separate sessions. The first was conducted at Pogoma Village on the mainland coast and the second on the island. A total of seventeen (17) Village Court Magistrates, Peace Officers, Village Court Clerks and Community Leaders attended the session on the mainland and twelve on the island.

PNGCJE Executive Director John Carey was the lead facilitator who spoke on the Constitution, the different kinds of rights, how to responsibly enforce those rights through the courts, the separation of powers through the three arms of government and the jurisdiction of the Village Courts.

The sessions were interactive as participants raised many questions on the topics presented which were answered by Dr Carey and the PNGCJE Staff. The participants were each issued a copy of the PNG Constitution and brochures on Constitutional Rights and Freedoms, Basic Court Users Guide and Gender Equity and Social Inclusion.

Positive feedback was received from the participants who requested the PNGCJE team to return and conduct more programs for their communities.

Village Court Magistrate Mr. Peter Aisi from Pogoma Village said this was probably the first time since Independence in 1975 where such awareness has been conducted in his village. Community leader and Chief of the Koae Kupuna Clan on Yule Island Mr. Camillus Aisi also shared similar sentiments and thanked PNGCJE for the effort put into reaching rural communities.

Dr. Carey said the PNGCJE’s mandate was to design and deliver judicial education training programs for the judges, magistrates, court staff and members of the law and justice sector agencies. However, “we have seen a greater need for the ordinary citizens to know and understand their basic rights under the Constitution and how to properly access justice through the various systems and processes that are already in place. That is why the PNGCJE took the initiative to seek support from the Pacific Justice Sector Programme (PJSP) to facilitate the awareness program.

The program was funded by the PJSP under the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZ-MFAT) which covered several other awareness programs conducted in Kwikila, Rigo Inland, Hanuabada, and Papa Lealea. The program will also be conducted in Jiwaka and Manus provinces.

PNGCJE Executive Director Dr. John Carey speaking to the participants in Yule Island, Kairuku, Central. 
PNGCJE Executive Director Dr. John Carey speaking to the participants in Yule Island, Kairuku, Central. 
Participants posing for a group photo after the session in Yule Island.

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