By MALUM NALU
Prominent lawyer, author and former diplomat Peter Donigi died of a heart attack at Port Moresby General Hospital last Thursday morning.
Donigi, 63, from Wale Lowan village along the West Coast of East Sepik, served Papua New Guinea with distinction as a lawyer and senior diplomat with postings in Germany, and PNG’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations in New York accredited to the Holy See.
He is survived by wife Diana and six daughters Stephanie, Amanda, Yasmine, Caitlin, Davita and Loretta.
Donigi was one of the first batch of graduates from the Legal Training Institute in 1973 and served as deputy secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade under Sir Anthony Siaguru in 1975, before becoming a diplomat.
He previously taught at University of PNG, specialising in constitutional law.
As an academic and writer, Donigi wrote many books on law and published many articles, dealing with constitutional and resource law including human rights,
He was outspoken on matters concerning resource law and ownership rights of indigenous peoples, including the controversial Boka Kondra Bill – which pushed for Papua New Guineans to have greater ownership of mining, oil and gas resources and fair and equitable benefit sharing arrangements
Donigi was lead counsel of Opposition Leader Belden Namah’s legal team at the time of his death.
Namah described him as “a great man who brings out the best in people with his genuine humbleness and achievements as a constitutional lawyer and diplomat”.
“The nation has lost one of its greats.
“He is a great loss to us (Opposition) and the country.
“We pray for peace and comfort for his family, colleagues and the people of East Sepik.”