Nation mourns

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 14th May 2013

HUNDREDS of people in the country and in PNG missions overseas will today observe a national haus krai (house of mourning) to publicly deplore abuse and violence against women in the country.

Also high on the agenda when Parliament sits today are the various Government mea­sures to address serious crimes such as rape, murder and armed robbery prevalent in the country.

Police have allowed organisers of the haus krai to gather at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby from this evening to protest the increa­sing attack, abuse and violence against women and girls.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to visit the haus krai at the stadium tomorrow and receive the “call to action” statement.

NCD-Central divisional commander Asst Comm Jim Andrews said the protest would be restricted to the stadium.

“Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga has allowed the national haus krai to go ahead,” Andrews said.

“Any protest outside of the stadium or on the streets will not be allowed. I urge the organi­sers and protesters to adhere to this advice,” Andrews said.

He said the police commissioner and the constabulary supported the haus krai initiative.

“It is for a good cause given all the recent crimes and barbaric acts against women and girls in our communities and the government must listen to the cries of our womenfolk and people,” Andrews said.

Women Arise spokesman Rev Stephen Michael Leach said the event was supported here and abroad.

Haus krais would be held at various PNG overseas missions around the world today and tomorrow as people join to support PNG women.

“This is an asples driven and led movement made up of all races, tribes, tongues and religious affiliations crying out for transformation and it will leave a lasting imprint on the social fabric of this nation,” Leach said.

The leader of government business, Finance and Education Minister James Marape said last night: “We will put on notice to bring tougher laws for both white collar and common criminals such as rape, murder and we will also amend the Public Service Management Act to make it consistent with now shifting budget to rural PNG.”

The PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry also called on businesses in the country to get behind the haus krai initiative.

“This is a fantastic initiative to bring attention to the most serious issue facing PNG, that of violence,”  president John Leahy said.

He said ministers would also make ministerial statements on first quarter performances.

“But it is particularly galling when directed at those most vulnerable, in particular children and the many, many adults who are not themselves prepared to resort to violence,” Leahy said in a statement.

“We view this as a national issue requiring a comprehensive approach and we note some steps by the government in the right direction, but we say much more needs to be done.  

“Our focus is on properly resourcing the law enforcement agencies as this will provide the best chance of achieving outcomes.

“Violence is probably the most significant issue affecting the quality of life for Papua New Guineans of both genders.” 

In Lae, women will meet at the Eriku oval tomorrow to continue the nationwide protest.

The Lae meeting is expected to begin at 7am tomorrow.