19 May 2009

PNG's anti-Asian violence linked to frustration over lack of opportunity

9:29 pm on 19 May 2009

Transparency International Papua New Guinea says the spate of violence against Asians in the country is a surfacing of frustration among nationals over the lack of opportunity they've experienced for many years.

Looting and anti-Chinese violence erupted in the capital Port Moresby and Lae last week and by the weekend had reignited in Madang Province and has since spread to Highlands centres like Goroka, Kundiawa and Mt Hagen.

TI PNG's Peter Aitsi says that even though police have now brought most of the violence under control, it's a major concern and something his organisation condemns.

He says many local communities are fed up with being marginalised.

"And what we've seen over the past couple of days is perhaps the surfacing of those frustrations. It's seeing what seems to be Asians, particularly the recently arrived Chinese, become involved in small-scale businesses and they see it as taking away the business and employment opportunities that rightfully should be theirs."

Peter Aitsi says the violence highlights the need for a clear definition of where PNG's localisation priorities are.