Official complaint about gay flag

A LEADING Catholic organisation in Papua New Guinea has lodged an official complaint with its government, and accused Australia's High Commission of meddling in its domestic affairs after it posted a Facebook post expressing support for the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
Official complaint about gay flag Official complaint about gay flag Official complaint about gay flag Official complaint about gay flag Official complaint about gay flag

New Australian High Commissioner to PNG Jon Philp, centre, with colleagues in the picture which has upset PNG's Catholics

Staff Reporter

On May 17 the Australian High Commission in PNG posted on its Facebook page a photo of staff members waving rainbow flags with a caption that read "we believe all people are entitled to respect, dignity and protection from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity",
It's a sensitive issue in PNG where homosexual acts between men are illegal, but actual prosecutions are not common, and the laws are rarely enforced, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Catholic Professionals Society PNG president Paul Harricknen told the ABC's Pacific Beat program that a complaint about the post had been laid with the government.
The Australian High Commission last week removed the posting from its Facebook page.
"We have asked through our government for flags or promotional work not to be done," he said.
"Especially against our values those have been protected by our laws."
The social media post received more than 600 comments with the High Commission removing some for what it said were "hate speech".
Staff later updated the post, writing that while Australia respects human rights including the right freedom of speech, "hate speech (expressions of hatred or inciting violence) in the comments on this post will not be tolerated and will be removed".
In a statement to Pacific Beat, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said that it encouraged Australia's diplomatic missions to mark international days such as IDAHOBIT and that the High Commission in PNG was one of six missions in the Pacific which did.
"Australia believes that human rights are universal, indivisible and independent, and all people are entitled to respect, dignity and legal protection."
"We consistently and actively support efforts to protect and promote the rights of LGBTI people across the globe," the statement to the ABC said.



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