Duncan Roden


Benny Wenda addressing public forum in Sydney. May 24.

West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda has been touring Australia, spreading awareness of the West Papuan struggle for freedom from Indonesian rule.

A cost-benefit analysis released by the Secretariat of Pacific Communities (SPC) and the European Union on potential deep sea mining (DSM) projects in three Pacific countries found that the projects can be viable. But other research suggests there remain serious concerns about the new, untested DSM industry.

A new report has found huge tax evasion by foreign logging companies that are running rampant in Papua New Guinea. The Great Timber Heist was released by the Oakland Institute on February 16.

The PNG rainforest is the third largest in the world. It covers about 80% of the country, 60% of which is untouched forest.

Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Iowa caucus on February 1. His opponent Hillary Clinton got 49.9% while Sanders got 49.6%. This was a remarkable achievement for a candidate who many commentators said was too radical and stood no chance against the well-entrenched and well-resourced Clinton.

The secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was released on November 5 and was swiftly condemned by green groups around the world, which said the trade agreement fails to provide adequate protections for the environment.

The TPP was agreed to on September 5 by the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.

Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were finally completed in Atlanta on October 5. Final agreement on the treaty had been delayed for years as negotiating countries tried to protect their own industries while trying to gain market access in others.

The TPP was negotiated by countries on the Pacific Rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.


Demonstration in solidarity with West Papua. Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Indonesian police beat two West Papuan students in Yahukimo, Papua Province, on September 16 for handing out leaflets about the Pacific Islands Forum.

The tasteless joking between immigration minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the threat of rising sea levels to Pacific Islands — caught on a microphone after the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) meeting — sums up the Australian government's attitude to the victims of its climate inaction.

The 46th PIF leaders' meeting in Port Moresby ended without reaching agreement on a united position to take to the Paris climate summit later this year. Pacific Island leaders could not convince Australia and New Zealand to agree on more ambitious targets.

There were huge protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership held across New Zealand on August 15. About 10,000 protesters marched in Auckland, 5000 in Wellington, 4000 in Christchurch and thousands more in other parts of the country.

The TPP is a free trade deal being negotiated by countries on the Pacific rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.

The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has declared an inquiry into the Manus Island detention centre null and void because of perceived bias.

The court unanimously decided that Justice David Cannings, who started the inquiry, could not, according to PNG law, also preside over the proceedings. He also failed to disclose that an expert witness was his friend.

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