Unlawful Use of Excessive Force

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Unlawful Use of Excessive Force

Research Proposal Title: The Unlawful Use of Excessive Force by the Police in Papua New Guinea


The continuous impartial use of police excessive force is gradually one unavoidable increasing endemic issue throughout this modern developing phase of Papua New Guinea which had taken root to become a cultural practice especially by the legitimate law enforcement agency of the police department, unquestionably has generally been accepted as a norm of practice by both the police and citizens. It is slowly tearing away the fabric that binds trust, respect and transparency within the public and institutions. It is the unlawful force act that is unnecessarily applied by the police towards the citizens that violates and deprives their basic rights and freedom.

It is portrayed on the historical timeline stretching back some years after Papua New Guinea’s independence with specific regards to this unlawful act of abuse and inhuman treatment of citizens by the police force has proven to exist with serious undesirable health attributes of physical bodily injuries and even death in extreme with less or no effective accountability measures taken since then. According to the Human Rights Watch Report of 2005 and 2006 has promulgated the frequent occurrences of the police violence through the excessive use of force on individuals, children and general public that involves brutal beating beatings, rape and torture during arrest or after while in detention under custody where most of these cases go unreported and unresolved. The police department of Papua New Guinea is known as the Royal Papua New Guinean Royal Constabulary (RPNGC) has been greatly accused of various allegations of misconduct and use of excessive force over the past few years; however public scrutiny was one vehicle that usually triggers internal investigations to take place into some common reported cases. These investigations in most cases go noticeable in the start but ends with undisclosed information to the public with unknown end results and penalties being placed on the misconduct police officers. Found in almost every report from international observers and human rights organisations states that almost every cases of these police misconduct with excessive use of violence and lethal force with brutality has commonly reported to take place while on duty routine has intentionally gone unpunished enabling impunity for the officers to prevail for the police officers to get away easily with their unlawful act (Prasad, 2006).


This excessive use of force in most cases involves the aggressive act of brutalizing, harassing and intimidation towards the citizens especially suspects when being confronted; police brutality is a phenomenon which results from this unmerited excessive use of force by the police that causes irreparable harm to its victims. Excessive force basically refers to the use of force that is unauthorized and is unnecessarily that is much more than what is required.  However, brutal assaults as a result of excessive force basically refers to such harmful treatment to a person which as an effect on the person’s body and emotional feelings. Papua New Guinea faces violence at every turn, including from the police who should be protecting them as is part of their official swore role whereas in this case will be focusing more the police as state legal institution responsible for enforcing law and order, maintain peace and security and protecting the democratic rights and freedom of the citizens and organisations. By description in an attempt to define police excessive force can best be described as a misconduct of the police officer to use violence and extra force that is not proportionate to the nature of the situation or necessarily to arrest or react to a public confrontation.

Research Problem

The continuous use of excessive force by the police typically encompassing violence and brutality has been a major growing concern for every citizen considering the fundamental concept of human rights has caused outrage among citizens across the country. The basic concept of human rights of equality and freedom has been widely abused and violated by the police who are the legitimate law enforcement agency responsible for internal security measures. The act of impunity by the police is also another common issue that has largely discredited the institution with all the officers throughout Papua New Guinea which no longer is reliable to the general public for security and safety measures.

Violation of human rights is a major issue for social development around the world. As human beings we should live the way we want and be able to do what we want so long as we do not interfere or disturb other people’s wellbeing.

To further strengthen this theory of social development in a more conceptualized legal framework resulted with the establishment of contemporary human rights act which was stipulated by the Universal Declaration Human Rights under the United Nations establishment that took precedence of development prospect. This emphasis the recognition of human rights that values all people having dignity and freedom to be acknowledged and respected (Australian Human Rights Commission). Basic human rights are considered to be the integral instrument for serving justice and freedom with in which every state and other institutions must take into account. Despite all, one of foremost treaty that is still not legally binding in Papua New Guinea’s Human Rights legal framework that specially disembarks from this excessive use of force by the police as state representatives is the Convention against Torture and other Cruel and Inhuman Treatment (CAT). This is seen to be a loophole that further adds to the widening of the gap of excessive human torturing and cruel treatment by the arm forces of policemen. It is envisaged that social justice will only be attain if rights of all individual are respected. Social justice refers to creating livelihoods based on principles of equality/fairness and solidarity with the highest value of human rights. However the 1997 Arrest Act under the National Legislations of Papua New Guinea prohibits the use of excessive force by the police, which also extends to exist in the Papua New Guinea’s Police Ethical Code of Conduct that stipulates that each member of the Police shall “Respect and uphold the rights of all people in the community regardless of race, social status or religion”.

Human rights based concepts comprise of various individual rights and freedom ranging from political, economic, social and cultural ideals of which the state has the sole duty to acknowledge and uphold it with regards to serving the best interest of its citizens. Some of these rights that corresponds to the problem statement outlined in this paper entails the right to life, the right not to be tortured, the right to a fair trial, the right to assembly .etc. which contemplates morality of human treatment to be under the respect to morality accepted and approved by the international and various states national laws. Unlawful Use of Excessive Force

In this paper I will be focusing more on the role of the arm forces especially the police as the internal security agency with mention of its approach to the human security and development with the fundamental rights and freedom of the citizens most commonly being violated through the police use of excessive force on regular basis that can be defined as cruel, discriminating and inhuman act. Papua New Guinea reports on the common abuse of human rights directly reflects the unlawful role of the police force in enforcing law and order legitimately which has undermine their crucial role of  maintaining social order, peace and stability. Unlawful physical beatings are common by the police that usually stretch to the level of torture especially to suspects and detainees when being arrested and questioned and interrogated (UN Special Rapporteur, 2010).


Continuous abuse of human rights is a very controversial issue in Papua New Guinea as a member state of the United Nations that had also taken the oath in signing and adapting the UNDHR. As a part of the National Constitution, Papua New Guinea’s Government has guaranteed the equality of human rights for all the citizens. As a matter of fact, this practice has not been effective through the implementation phase by the state and is not being very well advocated throughout the entire country. Therefore it still remains a phenomenon considering the excessive acts of violence especially of brutality and torturing to the citizens by the state. However there seem to be a major causes of this excessive acts of force by the police in PNG especially where the jurisdiction where the police officers serve. Etc. in some areas, acts of violence committed against law enforcement agencies are done on regular basis such as crime rates and other raising social issues. And most commonly is the abuse of power and authority by the police personals when dealing and apprehending suspects which they consider themselves as the law itself and are prone to impunity without being held accountable and responsible for their actions by any reviewing boards and internal investigation body.

The problem that will be addressed in this research proposal is centered on the concept unlawful, unjust and illegal application of the police use of excessive force and violence. And in addition to elements on the rule of law with accountability, transparency, good governance of the police department inclusive of the excessive use of force and the lack of correctional actions taken by the state to penalize the rogue police officers abusing the citizenship rights. Collecting data on police is a vital practice to keep everyone informed and updated on the authority and responsibilities of the law enforcement agencies allowing the citizens to be aware of their own personal rights and freedom free from this unethical and unlawful act of excessive force and violence.

Research Question

With regards to the main problem as identified and discussed in brief above occurring within the police institution and towards the citizens involves these questions as brought forward below for an answer with best possible alternatives and understanding.

  • What are the legal systems of the Police Institution / Department in Papua New Guinea to achieve the Rule of Law?
  • Why is this use of Excessive Force through violence and brutality still being practiced by the by the Police?

Research Objectives

Basically, the objective of this research is to;

  • Identify, review and reveal the democratic institution of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary with its common roles as enshrined in the PNG National Constitution under the principle of the rule of law, thus including all its existing acts, policies, rules and regulations.
  • To identify the core reason of this continuous unlawful behavior of the police personals towards the people.

Research Scope

The purpose of this study is to examine the accountability and transparency practice….Show More…

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