WOMEN’S GROUPS SPEAKING OUT AGAINST POLYGAMY IN PNG

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WOMEN’S GROUPS SPEAKING OUT AGAINST POLYGAMY IN PNG

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (February 27, 2001 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Women's groups in Papua New Guinea say men are abusing the country’s cultural tradition of polygamy and neglecting their families.

This statement was made during last week’s regional conference on Violence Against Women in Fiji.

Naomi Yupae, an NGO worker from the Eastern Highlands province, said women have suffered enough from polygamy.

She said something must be done to make men more responsible for their actions.

"When (men) take on their second or third wife, the traditional practice is to become responsible for the children who come out of those marriages as well as taking care of the wives. That’s not happening in current society," Yupae said in an interview with Pacific Beat’s Caroline Tiriman.

She said women are shouldering the responsibility of clothing, educating and feeding children.

"A lot of women and children are suffering because men are not taking on the responsibilities that go with polygamy," she said.

Yupae said it will be difficult to legally ban polygamy, an old traditional practice in Papua New Guinea.

She is encouraging women groups to speak out against the practice.

"A lot of men are hiding behind culture and abusing it," she said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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