PNG Haus Krai rated a great success
Haus Krai rated a great success in raising awareness about the levels of violence which have become entrenched in Papua New Guinea.
One of the organisers of this week's Haus Krai, or House of Mourning, in Papua New Guinea says it has been a great success in terms of putting the issue of violence against women before the public.
Dozens of events, many of them overnight vigils, were organised in PNG and overseas.
They followed the international outcry over a series of gruesome murders of women who were accused of sorcery.
Esther Igo says politicians, churches, diplomats and business groups took part in the event at the Sir John Guise Park in Port Moresby.
She believes this support came because the levels of violence in PNG had become so entrenched and were reaching unbearable levels.
Don Wiseman asked Ms Igo whether men backed the event:
IGO: Definitely we had a lot of support from them. We've got men in our core team who are really in support of the movement. During the Haus Krai, nationally, we had a lot of men who are perpetrators come forward and apologise to the women. A lot of men stood up and apologised to the women of PNG, saying they're sorry and enough is enough, and they're looking at doing something. At the end of the day, women are victims because the men who are perpetrators, more for domestic violence. But for rape and for violent acts we've got a lot of men standing up and supporting the women. There is a lot more to be done with police enforcement to ensure the perpetrators are prosecuted and are not left running the streets, free.
WISEMAN: The government has clearly indicated that it intends doing something about this level of violence. You presented a petition to the prime minister during the Haus Krai. What did you specifically ask of him in that petition?
IGO: The petition, in a nutshell, was all about ensuring we have the enforcement of the laws, we have, basically, resourcing it right . We also petitioned for safety and welfare and counselling services to be made available to the victims. We asked for a human rights commission and an anti-corruption commission to be put in place. There are three more things in the petition, but in a nutshell, what we really wanted was the enforcement of the law because that's what is broken, that's what is really broken. Immediately we have asked for the government to work with Australia to see if we can have the Australian support in giving help to Papua New Guinea police. So that was one of the major things that we had in the petition.
WISEMAN: And Mr O'Neill's reaction was?
IGO: He was open to that. I think negotiations started with the Australian government when the prime minister of Australia was up here. We had initial contact with the prime minister before the prime minister of Australia came down expressing our concerns and the need for police to be really empowered properly, because currently our police, they lack discipline, they lack resources. They don't have proper structures around the country and the numbers to be able to support the community. We have had the initial discussion with them, and I think they're in discussion for the ESP contract agreements to be put in place.
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