Please see 4 parts of this WUNRN release on Papua New Guinea - Violence Against Women.





Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women - CEDAW



Ratification, Accession (a), Succession (d) 

Papua New Guinea 


12 Jan 1995 a 





Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Laments Violence Against Women


November 16, 2007

Violence against women has become a cancer in Papua New Guinea society, Prime Minister Michael Somare has told parliament.

Launching a debate on the issue on Friday, Somare said the problem was due to a callousness that had been allowed to grow and fester in the country.

He called on MPs to seriously address the problem and combat the "disgraceful bullies" who beat their wives, other women and children.

The debate was in response to a petition presented to parliament last month by Community Development Minister Carol Kidu demanding the government act to stop violence against women.

The petition of more than 10,000 signatures was sparked by recent horrific attacks on women highlighted in the local media.

Somare said PNG was a society in transition and must come up with solutions to new social problems caused by modernisation, urbanisation and the adoption of Western ways.

The government had introduced legislation to protect women and children but if police and justice agencies did not enforce the laws then women and children would continue to suffer, he said.

"I am sick and tired of hearing about law enforcing agents' continual response that these are domestic issues or an issue between relatives to be sorted out outside of police stations and courts."

Somare said that as PNG society left some traditional values behind it must adopt the positive values of the West, not the negative ones as it appeared to be doing.

He urged MPs to wear a white ribbon on November 25 to observe the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Kidu, a former Queenslander who is PNG's only female MP, told the house that PNG was going through rapid changes leading to social breakdown and proper management processes were needed in order to arrest it.

Tribal fighting in many rural areas was still common, she said, destroying social and economic development in those communities.

"Another very worrying and real emergency is the torture and killing of people accused of witchcraft and sorcery, "Kidu said.

More women than men died in such attacks, some of which were linked to fears and stigmas surrounding people with HIV/AIDS.

The traditional practice of polygamy could also lead to violence because of changing times and attitudes, she said.

"I know of one woman serving a jail sentence for murder because she killed another woman her husband brought home as his third wife."

Kidu said she was also aware of cases of girls who committed suicide to escape from debt-bondaged forced marriages.

It was perhaps time the government considered legislation against certain traditional customs, she said.

Opposition Leader Mekere Morauta said the government must come up with more powerful laws to prevent violence against women.





Violence Against Women

Gender-based violence, including sexual violence, was endemic in the home and in the community. In the context of the elections, women were traded for guns while gang rapes were reported among warring tribes.

Despite almost daily condemnations of abuses against women in the press, including a string of vehement statements by key government leaders and law enforcement officials, few incidents were investigated. Alleged perpetrators, including policemen and others in powerful positions, escaped justice and little concrete action to fight impunity materialised.

In August, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal by a re-elected MP against a 12-year sentence for rape. The Electoral Commission had earlier been criticized for effectively condoning rape by accepting the convicted MPís nomination.

Women human rights defenders were increasingly active and organized in their advocacy. In a high-profile silent protest action on 9 October, more than 100 black-clad women activists with white ribbons, together with the Minister for Community Development and the only female MP, Dame Carol Kidu, petitioned the parliament to address violence against women.

Violence against women was seen as a key reason behind the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which, in turn, is fuelling more abuses against women, as HIV/AIDS deaths were sometimes believed to be the result of sorcery. Alleged witches were tortured and killed by mobs who believed they were responsible for deaths.





STUDIES conducted by the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) reveal an alarming rate of gender-based violence (GBV) cases.



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