27 Jun, 2019

[Port Moresby: Thursday 20 June] Secretary of Department of Justice and Attorney General Dr Kaw challenged practitioners in Papua New Guinea’s Law and Justice sector to utilise the skills and knowledge that they will have gained at the 5-day workshop they are attending to help reform the country and take back PNG, “I get sick when I continue to read about sexual violence on girls and on our women perpetrated by our men.  I read this in the newspaper every day.  I look at the data that I receive quarterly that provides a summary of the violence that our women and children face, this violence is nothing but evil.  You can attend all the trainings you can and become better workers in our law and justice sector but if you cannot translate what you have learned and take it right back to your family, back to your homes and to your village then we cannot take back PNG, because to take back PNG, it starts at home and at our villages, ensuring that our women and girls live in safe and peaceful families and communities,” said Dr Kwa, during his keynote address at the workshop opening earlier this week.

27 practitioners from PNG’s Law and Justice sector are currently undertaking a workshop on Gender, Violence against Women and Human Rights this week at the Holiday Inn, Port Moresby.  Lead trainer and facilitator of the workshop is renown award-winning human rights advocate Shamima Ali from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), “I thank Shamima and her team for coming because there is a crisis in our country and we need all the help,” expressed Dr Kwa.  He talked about a need for public sector reforms to focus on improving the village court systems and to ensure it promotes peace for women and girls whilst discouraging perpetrators of violence.

“I’d like to see a young woman walk into the forest not having to worry to carry something to protect her, of when she goes to the creek to have a wash or when our women go to fish that they do not have to worry about being held up by men right in the heart of Port Moresby.  We want to see our girls walking around at 10’0clock at night freely and not having to live behind a fence – while those who should be behind the fence are walking outside freely on the streets.  That is why need trainings like this to be taken right down to the villages.  Let’s take one village at a time,” challenged Dr Kwa.

Lead trainer Shamima Ali commented on her working history and knowledge of Papua New Guinea highlighting how advanced PNG was in terms of ending violence against women, where back in the early 80s PNG was the first country in the Pacific to undertake a national survey on Domestic Violence conducted by the PNG law reform Commission and how that piece of research has guided the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) and how it conducts its own research. On the week ahead, Ali provided an overview of the workshop program, “this week will be very interactive and personal.  We will be talking about very challenging topics and there will be times where you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable.  It is about your awareness, a journey about learning about gender and gender power relations.  There is a great need for you to understand this so that you can take the right messages back to not only your place of work but also to your homes and village as Dr Kwa has said,” said Shamima Ali at the opening ceremony.

Also in attendance at the workshop opening was Australian High Commission Counsellor for Law and Justice, Gina Wilson, who expressed her gratitude to Shamima Ali for accepting the invitation to conduct the training as she is very well aware of the quality and long-sanding expertise FWCC and the Pacific Network Against Violence against Women have in rolling out these trainings across the Pacific.

The participants will be learning about gender and related topics; gender relations, division of labour, male privilege, power and control as the root cause of violence against women and girls.  They will also discuss in-depth women and women’s work, women’s experiences of violence.  The myths, misconceptions and impact of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and child sexual abuse will also be part of the participant’s learnings.  All sessions will be accompanied by specific-pacific examples with a focused session dedicated to the impact of culture and religion on violence against women, women’s rights and women’s status in the Pacific.

The workshop ends Friday 21 June and is being co-facilitated by ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki from Tonga Women and Children Crisis Centre and assisted by Wilma Eileen.

For more information, please contact Shamima Ali on +679 9992875


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