Support advocates

Letters

THE 20 days of activism is just around the corner starting from Nov 20 with the International Children’s Day and ending on Dec 10 with the International Disability Day.
It is therefore in everyone’s interest that the gender-based violence house man is intact starting from the lead agency.
The article in the editorial of Nov 9 of The National is an example of how lead agencies should ensure we are addressing the gender-based violence as one group.
Lead agencies such as the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council should know that we are not their employees nor are we answerable to them.
Many of us continue to rescue old women with car tires forced around their neck and bodies ready to be set on fire.
We rescue others who are already half buried in self-dug death beds.
We are gifted to escape cross fire and swashing arrows; we are champions without recognition.
The game we play is not written out in movie scripts; it is the gift we have inherited from our forefathers, something the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council will never achieve in a lifetime.
Some of us serve as police officers of various ranks, some of us are village court officials and peace mediators but many of us are plain volunteers, unpaid and unrecognised but we continue to dedicate our lives settling community disputes because we are gifted and it’s in our blood, our presence inspires laying down of arms.
Our presence is enough to represent the Government and the law.
It is enough to prevent loss of lives, burning down of homes and destruction to properties.
One can only imagine the degree of destruction if we wait for the appropriate authorities to address the issue.
These are situations the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council would most likely never achieve in their lifetime.
Rather than discrediting people who represent peace in the community, especially when standing tall in a foreign culture, the council should retract its activities and question itself about what went wrong.
One of the main areas they can reconsider is their failure to be fair to participants from partner organisations they invite to their workshops.
These activities are fully funded with accommodation, meals and daily allowances.
We are men and women of integrity in the communities we live and serve.
A workshop without an allowance is an insult to our standing.
Why were we invited in the first place?
The council and the family and sexual violence action committee did not provide allowances for participants on two occasions in the same hotel in Goroka.
I have been one of two longest serving male volunteer advocates over four decades (the other is Sgt Rolan Funmat in Kokopo).
But I have now decided to stand on the opposite side and watch the council and its brigade of male advocates.
Since February, my spouse and I were handling several sorcery-related cases at our own costs and we challenge the council to assist if they can.
Long live human rights!

Gerard Saleu

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