Domestic violence ‘common’ in PNG

National, Normal

TWO women out of three in PNG experience domestic violence, Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo revealed yesterday.
He made this known while opening the fourth annual women’s conference at the National Sports Institute in Goroka.
“Gang rape, pay back rape, rape in conjunction with tribal fighting, torture and murder of women suspected of sorcery are the current trend of violence against women in PNG, running parallel with the risks of spreading HIV infections in the country,” Mr Aimo said while citing international reports.
He said that PNG had improved in initiating reforms to its administration of justice with respect to the district courts, police and village courts and the reforms to PNG’s sexual assaults laws.
“However, in our backyard, the sector and Correctional Services, for that matter, has a lot to do.”
Mr Aimo said the focus of the 2009 International Women’s Day that was adopted to guide this year’s conference challenged the law and justice sector and its agencies to seriously assess its roles and responsibilities.
He was particularly pleased with the organisers of the conference because it gave him greater opportunity to address female officers – a thing he had no chance of with the Correctional Services senior executive team members.
Chairperson of the organising committee Insp Regina Cooper emphasised on the theme of the conference “Uniting Correctional Services men and women to work in partnership to end family violence against women and children”.
She said that violence was violation of human rights.
“Everyone in PNG should help to reduce this problem,” she said while quoting a speech by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
“The conference will help us to find answers to the existence of violence in the country, and a white paper to be developed at the end of it will help to address the problem within the CS,” Insp Cooper said.
Deputy Correctional Commissioner Operation Henry Wavik, who is the patron of the conference, said modernising the organisation was very important.
He said the conference would help female officers to assess the impact of their implementation of their duties to the best of their abilities.
The conference began with a march through the main streets of Goroka before converging  at the National Sports Institute grounds for the official opening.
The conference ends tomorrow.