PNG launches campaign to fight gender violence

WORLD Vision PNG and the delegation of the European Union to Papua New Guinea yesterday launched a "PNG gender leadership against gender violence" project.

A photography exhibition featuring pictures taken by award-winning Russian photographer Vlad Sokhin gave a human face to the project. The pictures were of Papua New Guinean women who were victims of gender-based or sorcery-related violence.

A book by Mr Sokhin titled "Crying Meri" was also launched at the same occasion at the State Function Room at the National Parliament.

The book has photographs of the affected women, which advocates hope will promote change in attitudes and behaviour towards gender-based and sorcery-related violence.

World Vision PNG representative Dr Curt von Boguslawski said the project would seek to achieve this goal by supporting leaders in the government and churches.

They are not decision makers but role models who would need to take a stand as an individual to lead change, he said.

Mr Boguslawski said the project would apply methodologies that he hopes would address the root cause of violence.

The project is funded by the EU at a cost of €278,000 (about K700,000) and seeks to contribute towards upholding the rights of women, ensuring their civic participation and the prevention of and response to GBV.

Responding to unacceptably high levels of GBV in PNG requires a systemic change in the mind-set of duty bearers, communities and individuals.

The project proponents will work with PNG’s members of parliament, government and church leaders to inspire change, solidarity and to help reduce the level of violence in PNG.

Speaking at the launching, the EU ambassador Martin Dihm spoke about human rights and how those rights for women started with gender equality.

"Women need to be represented fairly and participate in accordance with their share in the population in the economy and in politics," he said, adding that gender equality was a prerequisite for a democratic society.

He said violence against women and girls is not a just an issue for the Government nor just a women’s issue and needed the attention of everyone.

The launch was attended by the Minister for Community Development Delilah Gore and Linda Babao, the wife of the Prime Minister and the diplomatic community.
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