Clan Leaders of POBUMA and PNKA LLGs, Manus Province attained skills in paralegal services

Fig 1. Group Photo, Sapau Haus ( Photo by Nella Sabak, WCS).
Fig 2. Principal Lawyer Evelyn Wohuinangu facilitating a session ( Photo by Arthur Dalye, CELCOR)

Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR Inc) facilitated a week-long Para Legal Training workshop in Manus Province from the 6th to 10th of May 2019.  This Para legal training workshop was conducted in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in strengthening partnerships of community capacity building.

 The objectives of the workshop were to deliver a para legal skill to clan leaders who are signatory to the Conservation agreement with WCS for the protection of their forest and understanding of their basic human rights under the PNG Constitution and relevant natural resource laws.

The Para legal training was attended by 100 participants from the Powai, Butchou and Malay Bay (POBUMA) Local Level Government (LLG) and the Pomotu, N’Drehat, Kurti and Andra (PNKA) Local Level Government (LLG

The workshop generated healthy discussions in all sessions.   Officers from the provincial forestry, provincial office of environment and conservation, and provincial health office also attended. They were given the opportunity to share practical information on current activities happening on the ground, and the processes that need to be followed in terms of their ability to assist in landowner issues/complaints. It was also encouraging to see the women participants confidently contributing to the discussions and raising issues and the men respecting their voices.

Para legal training workshop is an ongoing initiative that is a part of the Community Legal Education and Awareness programme. It is tailored to inform customary landowners of their Human Rights and Law relating to natural resources to empower them to respond to issues in a positive manner.

At the conclusion of the workshop it was agreed that there was a need for a follow up training on specific topics such as the process of obtaining a Forest Clearance Authority (FCA) in communities that are affected by a new large-scale logging operation on the south coast of Manus.  Furthermore, it was recommended that, the concerned landowners must raise their concerns with the appropriate provincial governmental officers in the respective natural resource sector in Manus. However, if they do not receive favorable responses from the provincial government then another option is to seek legal redress.

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