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Emmanuel Peni

Kapul Champions, Project Sepik
Amnesty International - Interview
Queers Podcast - Interview

Emmanuel Peni (also known as Manu) is a human rights defender from the coastal region of Sepik, in Papua New Guinea. He is the president of Kapul Champions, a national network launched in 2012 that advocates for the rights of men with diverse sexualities (MDS) and transgender people. He is also the coordinator of the environmental group Project Sepik, which protects and advocates for the rights of the people living in the wetland area of the Sepik River, a territory threatened by a mining project that could heavily pollute the water system and damage the surrounding tropical rainforest. Because of his work, Emmanuel has been facing violent threats and harassment, both by government authorities and personnel from the mining company.

Human rights defenders in Papua New Guinea mainly work on land and environmental rights, women and children’s rights, gender based violence, especially against sorcery and witchcraft accusations and to end tribal warfare. Law enforcement officials have been implicated in corruption, extortion, rape and acts of violence. Police have used excessive force during arrest, interrogation, and pretrial detention. In the absence of rule of law in some regions, it is very hard for human rights defenders to advocate, protest or speak publicly of such abuses and some of them have been arrested and detained for speaking out.