PORT MORESBY 30 April 2021: The Special Parliamentary Committee on Gender-Based Violence is planning to hold public hearings – on Monday 24th May and Tuesday 25th May. The hearings will discuss critical issues related to addressing GBV including:
Examining the amount and use of funding provided by the Government to address GBV;
The delay in establishing the National GBV Secretariat and how to activate that body to be more effective;
Challenges with investigating and prosecuting GBV cases across the country and how to address them; and
How women’s reserved seats can be progressed as a strategy for ensuring women can co-lead the national GBV response.
The Committee, set up in 2020 by the National Parliament and chaired by Hon Charles Abel, Member for Alotau, is seven members in total – including Deputy Chairman, Hon Allan Bird (Governor East Sepik), Hon Powes Parkop (Governor NCD), Hon Michael Dua (Governor Chimbu), Hon Aiye Tambua (Goroka MP), Hon Ginson Saonu (Governor Morobe) and Hon Allan Marat (Rabaul MP).
Committee Chair Hon Abel has given his strong support to using the public hearings to help identify concrete improvements to the national response to GBV: “We don’t want these hearings to be another talk-fest. We have already had so many reports produced. I want us to use this as an opportunity to give front line workers and officials a chance to seriously tell us what is going wrong and what we need to do to urgently make improvements to how we prevent violence and how we address it properly when it occurs”.
"I want us to use this as an opportunity to give front line workers and officials a chance to seriously tell us what is going wrong and what we need to do to urgently make improvements to how we prevent violence and how we address it properly when it occurs” - Hon Charles Abel, Committee Chairperson
He went on to note: “With effectively only 12 months to go in the term of this Parliament the Committee is determined to conduct its hearings, elevate the issue of GBV, produce a concise report for Parliament, source funding for the GBV Secretariat and do everything it can to ensure a minimum number of women are in the next Parliament.”
The Committee hearings will be held over two days. The Committee will be calling on a group of frontline workers from around the country, using Zoom as well as inviting them to present in person where possible. It will be a unique opportunity to hear from people in the field who spend their lives working to help women and children suffering from violence.
The Committee will then call officials from key departments responsible for implementing the National GBV Strategy to hear directly why implementation of the Strategy has been slow to roll out and is still under-resourced and ineffective to prevent the violence still occurring every day.
"We have a National GBV Strategy in place, but we are reading stories every day about women being attacked for sorcery and women fleeing violence in their homes. Why? We have to fix this situation urgently.” - Hon Powes Parkop, Committee member
Committee member Gov Powes Parkop stated: “We want these hearings to be a chance for people working to end GBV to share their experiences with the whole country. They know what needs to be done – but who has been listening? We want to give them that platform. We have a National GBV Strategy in place, but we are reading stories every day about women being attacked for sorcery and women fleeing violence in their homes. Why? We have to fix this situation urgently.”
The public hearings will be broadcast on the Committee’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PNGParlCommGBV.
Any person or organisation who wishes to share their experiences or ideas for change with the Committee can also make a written submission to the Committee, which can be emailed to ParliamentGBVCommittee@gmail.com. Written submissions can be made until 30 June. After this date, the Committee will review all submissions, and produce an interim report for the Parliament, including recommendations based on what they have learned.
For more information on the Committee, members of the public can visit the National Parliament website and the webpage for the Committee on the website of the Coalition of Parliamentarians to End GBV: https://www.unitedforequalitypng.com/.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is providing technical support to the Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV as part of its gender programming and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. This support aims to address Gender-Based Violence and support longer-term efforts to promote women’s participation and leadership in the Parliament.