Growing unease in PNG over attacks against women | Pacific Beat

Growing unease in PNG over attacks against women

Growing unease in PNG over attacks against women

Updated 30 April 2013, 16:42 AEST

There is growing concern in Papua New Guinea about an increase in violence against women.

The National Council of Women says since the beginning of 2013, there has been a significant rise in the number of violent incidents.

They include the highly publicised case of two women, Helen Rumbali, her sister Nikono, and Nikono's two teenage daughters, who were kidnapped by an armed gang, and taken to a village in Bana district.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Lily Tua, General Secretary of PNG National Council of Women

TUA: We are intending to come together all organisations of women and others to come together to condemn the increased killing of women and raping of women in Papua New Guinea. Since this year the raping and killing of women has increased, and we are wondering what has gone wrong. 
 
COUTTS: Why do you think there's been an increase in these particularly violent killings and rapes?
 
TUA: Yes this violence and killing and the raping of women has increased in all parts of the country, especially the killing of a lady  and burning her alive in Mount Hagen, and that is one reason why the National Council of Women has taken its AGM up in Mount Hagen to advocate and also condemn the killing of young women, and even visited the place, the spot where she was killed.
 
COUTTS: How much of the raping and the violence is due to sorcery in Papua New Guinea? 
 
TUA: For some reason it has increased and it's like everyone is talking about being accused of sorcery and witchcraft killing. This activity has increased, something to do with people saying witch then somebody has died and taking the action of killing a person.
 
COUTTS: Well there's a push at the moment in PNG to amend the Sorcery Bill because there are loopholes in it. What are the loopholes, what can you tell us about the push to amend the Sorcery Bill?
 
TUA: The loopholes, I have not seen the act myself, but I know that sorcery killing is partly the culture, a very strong culture and in Papua New Guinea people lived with that, in fact but, there was no killing at the rate it  is going around this year, but people in Papua New Guinea do believe in sorcery and witchcraft. But it has not been like that before, now it's increased and everyone now, especially the women they live in fear.
 
COUTTS: You don't know why it's increasing?
 
TUA: No we need to find out because it wasn't like that before, it wasn't like that before and now we don't know whether it's because they did not report cases and since we're now reporting the cases, and once there are cases that are not reported, but there are a lot that are being reported.
 
COUTTS: There's also been a recent call to introduce the death penalty specifically for rape. Is the National Council for Women behind that call?
 
TUA: Yes, our recent meeting up in Hagan from 22 to 26th made very strong recommendations which we'll be making a resolution to the government to toughen the law and bring back, I mean there's a death penalty law in place and it has never been enforced. And we are calling on the government to bring that law into place and get people prosecuted and have the death penalty on these kind of killings and all that.
 
COUTTS: Some would argue that what's the point of being violent in the death penalty for rape when you're trying to combat violence, so will it make any impression if you're combatting violence with violence in bringing back the death penalty for rape?
 
TUA: No I think it's really ugly and very real and not going to bear with these kind of actions anymore. The government also I think is coming to support to enforce the death penalty for people who are making these kind of ugly actions, like rape and killings. Just recently yesterday there was a newspaper  report of a young woman who went to a garden with her toddler and baby, she hung the baby in the billum and then she was in the garden and got raped and killed and that baby was left in the night still in the billum, and she was killed next to her baby.
 
COUTTS: How was the baby killed?
 
TUA: Not the baby, the mother was killed and the baby was still in the billum there in the tree, but the mother was already raped and killed.
 

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