By PATRICIA KEAMO
WITH a background in anthropology and sociology, and more than 20 years’ experience as a researcher at the National Research Institute, Dr Fiona Hukula, 43, of Tui village in the west coast of East Sepik is serving her second term as a commissioner for the Constitutional Law Reform Commission.
Born in Port Moresby in 1977 to parents Martin and Helen Hukula from East Sepik, Fiona comes from a family of six.
She is married to Dr Simon Kenema who is also an anthropologist from Wakoia village in Nagovis, South Bougainville. They have three daughters Tabai, 11, Kimari, 9 and Swarai, 6.
She holds a Bachelor in Anthropology degree from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and a Masters in International Criminology from the University of Sheffield in England.
Prior to being appointed commissioner for the constitutional law reform commission, Dr Hukula was a senior research fellow and a programme leader for building safer communities at the institute.
Her research focuses on urban studies, gender and socio-legal studies. She authored and coauthored publications relating to crime, urban issues and gender-based violence in PNG.
It includes a piece on the possible impact of the Covid-19 on vulnerable groups including survivors of gender-based violence.
Fiona represents the institute on the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee and the National Action Plan Against Sorcery Accusation and Related Violence.
In 2016, she was appointed to the constitutional law reform commission as a commissioner for four years.
She worked on various pieces of law reviews in particular on the review of the city’s act and most recently the constitutional reference on electoral rolls, which was a countrywide consultation.
Her four-year term was renewed this month.
As someone very vocal in advocating against gender-based violence, she used a lot of research material especially for sorcery during discussions at the board level.
“It’s been a positive thing for me to sit on the board of the constitutional law reform commission because I’m able to share my research findings at that level.
“Apart from the work that I do on gender-based violence, my colleagues and I at the NRI use our research to advocate for temporary special measures to assist women to get into parliament. So I think it’s a good time to be on the board of the commission.
“ Apart from the work that I do on gender-based violence, my colleagues and I use our research to advocate for temporary special measures to assist women to get into parliament.”
“For me it’s been a real privilege to be able to travel to the provinces and to meet people and hear their thoughts on law-making and the laws and around different things such as elections.”
She is looking forward to completing the review of District Courts Act which the commission is still working on.
“I’m interested in this review because it has direct relation to the work that I do in the gender-based violence space.
“There needs to be more work on prevention as well as strengthening of referral pathways for better services for survivors and more support for mental health and services for men.”
Dr Fiona has a lot of ground to cover. But everyone knows she will definitely get the results.