On 27 May 2010, the Centre sent a letter to the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, in relation to the current review of the PNG-Australia Development Cooperation Treaty. In its letter, the Centre recalled the recent recommendation of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade that AusAID ‘adopt a human rights-based approach to the planning and implementation of development projects’. The Centre also drew attention to the call by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture for ‘the international donor community to consider the protection of human rights as the highest priority’ in PNG.
Having regard to these developments, the Centre outlined that the treaty review is a significant opportunity for Australia to enhance aid effectiveness, demonstrate leadership on human rights in the Asia-Pacific, and contribute to the realisation of human rights in PNG in practical and effective ways. Further, the Centre called on the Australian Government to take advantage of this opportunity by explicitly committing to the promotion and protection of human rights as a primary goal and instrument of Australia’s development cooperation with PNG.