Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UN: Violence against women, girls rife at Gordon market


THE United Nations in Papua New Guinea has reported that violence against women and girls is rife in Gordon market, National Capital District, The National reports.
A scope study conducted in December last year found that women, girls and children “do not have the safety and enjoyment of the market space”.
The report was revealed by UN Women yesterday at a workshop on ‘Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls’ programme in Port Moresby. 
Sixteen groups from the UN Women agency conducted interviews with market users and found that there were high levels of violence experienced by women and girls, transactional sex including minors, women and girls were the most vulnerable to violence and sexual violence, high level of extortion, the market being a violence risk area because of the lack of maintenance and planning, fear and anxiety was prevalent among all users, no trust in police and other city and market authorities, wantok system was rife for the gain of safety, lack of social cohesion, no social responsibility and ownership and lack of amenities.
UN Women is working closely with the National Capital District Commission, the Royal PNG Constabulary, NCD Governor Powes Parkop and other relevant authorities, NGOs, community leaders and donors to address these problems in the market.  
The UN Women suggested ways to counter the problems and they include: Revise the market management structure, increase citizen’s responsibilities, establishment of market management monitoring units, establishment of proper referral mechanisms, new revenue collection system, community engagement and more police patrols in the market.
The research survey was part of the global Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls programme which aims to:
  • Reduce sexual harassment and sexual violence against women and girls in public places;
  • Enable women and girls to move freely and safely and increase their ability to exercise such rights to enjoy such spaces;
  • Increase access, freedom of movement and citizen’s responsibilities to keep public spaces safe and clean; and
  • Increase social cohesion to prevent and reduce all forms of violence in market places.
In this programme, the UN Women will work effectively at the grassroots level to seek ways to help reduce violence on women and girls and the community.
PNG is the first country in the Pacific to adopt the Safe Cities programme, which was launched in India last Nov 25.

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