The National, Thursday 13th September, 2012
By DULCIE OREKE
WOMEN in Papua New Guinea have a very low status, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment said in a report.
The report, presented at a two-day consultation workshop in Port Moresby which ends today, said this was because most communities in the country were patriarchal.
It said that placed women at “a very high risk of abuse in the domestic and public spheres”.
“Gender-based violence is prevalent throughout the country and domestic violence
is widespread,” the
It said such acts were under-reported, owing to shame or fear of further violence or rejection by the communities.
“Little support is afforded by the state as there is no effective mechanism to address violence against women,” it said.
The report said in that regard, many victims of domestic violence “are not even recognised as victims by society and violence against women appear to be socially legitimised and
accompanied by a culture of silence and impunity”.
Many of the women detainees interviewed by the Rapporteur were incarcerated for crimes linked to domestic violence and polygamy.
The Special Rapporteur was concerned to find that women in detention were extremely vulnerable in police custody.
The report, which was compiled from his findings conducted between May 14 and May 24, 2010, said although women were kept in separate cells, they were not always protected from police officers or other detainees.
The workshop is jointly hosted by the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council and the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights