5 Mar 2012

UN told violence against PNG women increases during elections

8:18 pm on 5 March 2012

The founder of a Papua New Guinea women's organisation has told the United Nations that violence against women in her country increases at election time.

A bill to create reserved seats for women was defeated ahead of this year's general election and Lilly Be'Soer says women rarely get elected to any tier of government.

She told the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women that Voice for Change promotes women's political and economic advancement.

Ms Be'Soer says the seven-year-old organisation also aims to end violence against women.

"High prevalence of sexual/ gender-based violence in normal times, about 60 to 90 percent of women are affected, and it heightens in conflict times and during elections. High incidence of torture and grievous body injuries and women are accused of sorcery."

Lilly Be'Soer says Voice for Change recently negotiated the resettlement of 500 families who'd been internally displaced by tribal war.

She says ethnic conflict is displacing thousands of Highlands people.