By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

  • Pacific nations stood together at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, calling for help addressing issues such as the detention centre on Nauru and climate refugees, while Australia defended its border protection policies.
  • Connect Settlement Services has become the third major contractor to pull out of the Nauru detention centre, following Wilson Security and Ferrovial.
  • The Australian government is considering reducing its 32% planned tax on backpackers with working holiday visas. The tax could benefit the Seasonal Workers Program which allows Pacific Islanders to work in Australia short-term, and may level the playing field between the two groups competing for employment in Australia’s seasonal agricultural sector.
  • The aftermath from #FijiCrackdown continues, and the repercussions for their democracy have implications for Australia, as explored on the Interpreter, and discussed by Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
  • The detained Fijian politicians have stated that their human rights were breached; this comes as Fiji’s special representative to the UN revealed Fiji is seeking to become a member of the Human Rights Council for 2018-2020.
  • Rallies for an intervention into human rights abuses were attended by thousands of West Papuans across Indonesia, but ended as the police broke up the crowds and arrested at least 75 people.
  • Joanne Wallis discusses Australia’s declining influence in the Pacific, arguing that Australia is becoming a 'hollow hegemon' in the region. Meanwhile, India is increasing its outreach to Pacific Islands states in the wake of the Pacific Islands Forum.
  • Research has shown despite rapidly rising urbanisation rates across Melanesia, there remains a lack of urban investment and equitable representation. 
  • Despite losing to New Zealand in the final of the Oceania Football Confederation Under 20 soccer championship, host nation Vanuatu is looking forward to the World Cup.
  • The 60th Goroka Show  in the eastern highland province in PNG celebrated tradition and diversity, as seen in these photos of a previous Goroka Show.
  • Amid controversy over the banning of provincial flags by some organisers, Papua New Guinea has celebrated 41 years of independence, and the 2016 Independence dawn service attracted many residents and dignitaries.