Sunday, March 08, 2009

Gender-based violence high in Papua New Guinea

PAPUA New Guinea has one of the highest prevalent rates of gender-based violence in the world, The National reports.

According to a statement by United Nations office in PNG, about 67% of women report experiencing family violence, and in some remote Highlands communities, this figure rises to a staggering 90%.

The report said that in the urban centres, around one in six wives report receiving hospital treatment for injuries inflicted on them by their husbands.

PNG will join the world in observing International Women’s Day today.

The day is aimed at raising public awareness of violence against women (VAW) and what people could do to end it.

This year’s theme is focused on a collective approach “Women and men: United to end violence against women”.

The report stated that PNG also has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world where nearly half of reported rape survivors are under the age of 15 and that13% were under the age of seven, and even then, most cases were not reported.

In light of the issue, one of the key features of the UN’s work on gender-based violence was to involve men in addressing gender-based violence through supporting the men’s forums on VAW and children.

The UN system in PNG also identified gender-based violence as one of its key advocacy areas and was also looking at tackling gender-based violence in all its programme activities.

UN resident coordinator in PNG, Dr Jacqui Badcock said that “affirmative action measures will help raise women’s profile so they would become active citizens in all sectors”, especially the areas of political participation and decision making.

“We need increased participation of women in key executive positions in both in the Government and private sectors who will ensure policy decisions and decision making are in line with efforts to achieve gender equality and development towards ending violence against women,” she added.

She said that the persistence of this problem was one of the major constraints to women’s economic and political leadership at all levels


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