On 24 August 2020, a "High Level Meeting on Gender Based Violence" was organised in Port Moresby which was chaired by Governor Powes Parkop and Governor Allan Bird. Following that meeting, Governor Parkop partnered with Enga Governor, Sir Peter Ipatas to host a meeting of parliamentarians committed to addressing the scourge of violence directed at PNG's women and children. The meeting resulted in the formal establishment of the Coalition of Parliamentarians Against Gender Based Violence and the endorsement of a Coalition Resolution on Addressing GBV.
Under the leadership of Coalition Co-Chairs Gov. Powes Parkop and Gov Allan Bird, the Coalition organised the first ever National Gender Based Violence Summit which was held from 8-10 November 2020. At the conclusion of that meeting, the members of the Coalition endorsed the GBV Summit Outcome Statement, which commits them all to working to address GBV across the nation. The Coalition now comprises 20 of the 111 members in the National Parliament.
Subsequently, on 12 November 2020, the Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV was established in Parliament to inquire into issues related to GBV and report back to the Parliament. The Special Parliamentary Committee was Chaired by Hon Charles Abel, Member for Alotau. The Deputy Chairman was Hon. Allan Bird, Governor ESP and the Committee had seven members in total.
National elections were held in July/August 2022. Subsequently, the 11th Parliament established a Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, which took over the work of the previous Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV. The Committee is Chaired by Hon Powes Parkop, Governor NCD. The Deputy Chairman is again Hon. Allan Bird, Governor ESP and the Committee has seven members in total.
PNG GBV DATA.
Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation. In 1980, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”) was signed by 189 countries, including Papua New Guinea.
The 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defined violence against women as, “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The 2010 CEDAW report on Papua New Guinea’s interventions to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women outlined numerous concerns, including that the Constitution of PNG does not include sex as a prohibited ground, thereby allowing for lawful discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender.
In 2015, the elimination of violence against women and girls in public and in private was adopted as a target for the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality and in 2020 UN Secretary General Antonio Gutterres called for global action to address the “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to COVID-19.
Addressing gender inequality and violence against women and girls in PNG, is critical to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and the economic and social future of the country. The Government has developed the Papua New Guinea National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender Based Violence 2016-2025, which is intended to prioritise and coordinate efforts to address GBV across the country.
The Sorcery National Action Plan also provides a basis for national and provincial-level responses to sorcery accusation-related violence. While this affects men and women, in some parts of the country it is mainly women being accused and tortured.
PNG’s latest Demographic and Health Survey (2016-2018) found that 56% of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, and 28% have experienced sexual violence. A staggering 18% of women experienced violence during pregnancy. Sixty-three percent of married women have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence. Out of these survivors, only 35% of women have sought help.
The level of trauma from violence in childhood amongst both boys and girls is also rampant. After this early exposure to family violence, as they grow up to become men and women, the possibility of leading a violent-free life is unlikely. Those who witness their parents’ abuse are 3 times more likely to be abused or become abusers; and 70% of the men in PNG have witnessed their fathers beat their mothers.
Violence is associated with male authority over female behavior inspired by a range of social, cultural, and religious factors. These factors include the notion that decision-making in the home is a man’s prerogative; that gender roles are rigid and distinct and that women are owned by their partners through a bride price.
Now is the Time: ...for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or women will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person..
No person shall be submitted to torture (whether physical or mental), or to treatment or punishment that is cruel or otherwise inhuman, or is inconsistent with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person
" We commit ourselves to taking all action necessary to redue GBV and promote gender equality, respect and partnership”