GBV Public Hearing A Historic Event

The Special Parliamentary Committee on Gender Based Violence (GBV) led by Member for Alotau, Charles Abel conducted a first-of-its-kind public hearing this week in Port Moresby.

The two-day session aimed at understanding the challenges faced by survivors and service providers, identify gaps in the system and presenting recommendations to the Parliament.

One of the priority areas was to investigate the roadblocks behind the funding and implementation of the 2016-2025 National GBV Strategy.

The seven-member Committee summoned various stakeholders including the Minister of Community Development, Youth and Religion, Minister for Police, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, Office of Public Prosecutor, Public Solicitor’s Office, NGOs and Churches.

The first day began with the Parliamentary Committee listening to powerful testimonies of survivors, NGOs and human rights defenders of GBV.

Journalist and GBV survivor Hennah Joku gave a glimpse into her struggle to access justice.

“I am here for my daughter and for your daughters. I am here for every woman in Papua New Guinea and for the future of every girl to be born here.”  Joku said.

Gender Based Violence expert, Dr Fiona Hukula spoke of the importance of taking ownership of the problem through a homegrown initiative, contextualized to PNG instead of depending on donor agencies.

The Committee learnt about the challenges faced by those trying to support people suffering from sorcery accusation-related violence.

Ruth Kissam from the Tribal Foundation articulated that any woman accused of sorcery are having their children at risk of the same violence.

Her colleague Gary Bustin stated: “What is happening to women and children in sorcery-related violence is beyond what one animal would savagely do to another. We need to go after the ‘glass men’, the witch doctors who are playing on local fears to make money.”

Meanwhile, Femili PNG’s Denge Illave listed out the challenges of dealing with high profile perpetrators who bent the law to avoid arrest and intimidate the survivor.

Press Release