Police Violence Against Children in Papua New Guinea Escalating HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Human Rights Watch Report Says
Police violence against children in Papua New Guinea is escalating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Monday, Reuters reports (Perry, Reuters, 10/29). The report, titled "Still Making Their Own Rules: Ongoing Impunity for Police Beatings, Rape and Torture in Papua New Guinea," is a follow up to a review conducted by HRW in 2005 on police violence against children in the country, AFP/Hindustan Times reports. According to the new report, police in the country, which has the highest HIV prevalence in the South Pacific, regularly put children in jail with adults -- increasing the risk of violence and rape. In addition, "Police abuse -- particularly the targeting of sex workers and boys and men perceived to be homosexual, as well as harassment of people carrying condoms -- may worsen the [HIV] epidemic by undermining HIV prevention efforts," the report said. Zama Coursen-Neff, senior researcher for HRW's children's rights division, said, "Police rapes and torture are crimes, not methods of crime control. ... These brutal tactics have destroyed public confidence in the police." Papua New Guinea and its largest foreign aid donor, Australia, "should make sure that protection for the human rights of children and marginalized groups is at the forefront of future assistance to the police," Couren-Neff said (AFP/Hindustan Times, 10/30).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.