LEGAL INTERNS TO BE STRONG CATALYSTS IN TACKLING CORRUPTION

LEGAL INTERNS TO BE STRONG CATALYSTS IN TACKLING CORRUPTION

Port Moresby, February 1st, 2019 – Three law students from the University of Papua New Guinea have completed their internship program with Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) with a broader understanding of addressing corruption issues and ensuring good governance in public and private dealings.

Interns Hezron Wangi Jr, Salome Bamler and Eroni Lili began their practicum in November 2018 with TIPNG’s corruption complaints helpdesk the Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC). The ALAC is a community service offered by TIPNG that provides free legal assistance to citizens who want to report corruption issues.  The Legal Internship Program (LIP) gave the students a glimpse of real-life situations of ordinary citizens being victims of power play and dysfunctional systems in society.

“Through our Legal Internship Program, TIPNG wants to build a generation of legal professionals to become strong catalysts in tackling corruption and ensuring true justice,” said Executive Director, Ms Arianne Kassman.

During their work experience, the students reviewed TIPNG’s publication of 20 unresolved issues of national concern, participated at high level discussions of governance essential to Papua New Guinea, namely the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Two of the interns participated in a global online course on Corruption and the SDG’s facilitated by the Transparency International Secretariat.

“Working with the ALAC clients and the database was a good experience for me as I got to see the wide range of corruption related complaints that people report and try to assist them to the best of my abilities. I now aspire to work with the Department of Justice and Attorney General, being more than just a lawyer but an advocate for anti-corruption and change”, said Intern Miss Salome Bamler.

“It has been a great experience for me. Apart from working with ALAC clients and doing legal work I enjoyed working with the Policy and Advocacy team of TIPNG, learning about the OGP and the SDGs. When I applied for the internship, I thought we would just be doing legal work. I have also come to the realisation that corruption is so deeply rooted in our society. I have learned that in the future I must always have integrity and to always help people”, expressed Intern Mr Eroni Lili.

Mr Hezron Wangi Jnr, former president of the UPNG Law Students Society, said that the TIPNG Legal Internship experience was eye opener for him. “Before joining the LIP I always held onto the conventional idea that addressing the problem of corruption would be through prosecution and the legal system, but after going through the program and working with TIPNG, realise that by empowering citizens with the legal information they need gives them an advantage to address corruption when they meet it. That is why the work that TIPNG does is so important. “

This is the second batch of interns and TIPNG plans to expand the scope of the program into the 2019 – 2020 school break. The Legal Internship Program is supported by ExxonMobil PNG.

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