Statement letter to the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
APWLD stands in solidarity with the women’s and people’s movements in Papua New Guinea opposing the recent outbreak of violence against women. Below is the full text of the letter to the PM of PNG.
The Hon. Mr. Peter O’Neill
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
FAX: 675 327 7490; 327 6630
PO Box Parliament House Waigani NCD, PNG
10 May, 2013
I write to you on behalf of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD) to express our alarm over the levels of violence against women in Papua New Guinea. We express solidarity with women’s movements and other social movements in PNG who are bravely demanding change and request that your government work with women’s movement to implement urgently needed legal, political and social reform.
We have been informed about the many attacks on women, some of which have been reported in the media, many of which have not. We note that women human rights defenders and those challenging violence are particularly and we mourn the death of Women Human Rights Defender Mrs Rumbali and Pastor Mathew who was defending women’s rights.
Recent research has revealed that the single most crucial factor in improving policy and practice to end violence against women is the existence of autonomous women’s movements. The practices in PNG are actively discouraging the growth of women’s movements by targeting leaders with violence and threats.
We note that the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women has noted that women, particularly widows or women without family, are disproportionately affected by ‘sorcery’- related violence in PNG.
We urge you and the authorities in PNG to:
1. Support women’s movements to grow and involve them in all policy making decisions relating to violence against women as well as broader development policy in PNG;
2. Provide protection to Women Human Rights Defenders and investigate and prosecute all threats to them;
3. Take urgent action to prevent and punish ‘sorcery’-related violence;
4. Bring all perpetrators to justice, swiftly and justly.;
5. Take urgent action to prevent any further ‘sorcery’-related violence and provide the survivors with support and full access to health and other services;.
6. Repeal the Sorcery Act immediately and publically condemn all violence and threats of violence.
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