Friday, July 30, 2010

Amnesty wants Papua New Guinea government to act on violence

AMNESTY International (AI) handed over to the Papua New Guinean government a 37,000-signature petition urging an end to violence against women in PNG, The National reports.

AI Australia campaign coordinator Hannah Harborow handed to Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu a huge stack of folders containing the signatures calling for urgent government action to address the extremely high rates of violence against women and girls.

Last week marked a historic moment for PNG women when the PNG government was, for the first time, questioned by the United Nations (UN) committee on the elimination of discrimination against women about the high rates of violence against women, and about government efforts to address the issue.

A delegation of women from PNG also visited the United States to speak before the UN on behalf of their countrywomen and demanded an end to violence.

Harborow, who attended the review session in New York, said: “There were encouraging words from the PNG government when it went before the UN. But it is not enough just to acknowledge that gender violence  is an urgent problem.

“The government must prove it is serious about addressing violence against women and girls. It needs to pass laws specifically targeting domestic violence, provide emergency services for women fleeing abuse and lay charges against perpetrators of violence.

“The women of PNG may take some comfort from their government’s statement to the UN that it hopes in the future to fund emergency services and shelters run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and churches for women fleeing violence,” Harborow said.

AI said it looked forward to seeing the government fulfill its promise that the UN review session would lead to increased budget for initiatives to rectify the abuse and violence.

The government also pledged that it would use the UN review to raise awareness of violence through the PNG media, including holding a joint media conference with NGOs on the issue.



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