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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 21, 2001 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Rape and other acts of violence have to be addressed by the Papua New Guinea government, which has taken a "I don’t care" attitude for too long, a women's leader said.

Chairwoman of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council Priscilla Kare said the violent attacks on people reflect the government’s lack of priority in this area.

She said this year’s theme for the International Day Against Violence Against Women is "Say No To Rape." She appealed to the government to make its presence felt by supporting the activities commemorating the day, which falls on Sunday, November 25.

She condemned the recent gang rape of female Air Niugini employees on their way to work in Port Moresby. She urged the management of Air Niugini to "take the strongest possible measures to protect its female workers against future attacks of this nature."

Ms. Kare also condemned the constant attacks that occur on both the Magi and Hiritano highways in Central Province.

She said: "The rape and torture, resulting in the murder of a member of the innocent traveling public on the Hiritano Highway recently, is an act of brutality against the safety and freedom of our people as guaranteed by our Constitution.

"On numerous occasion, men have also been humiliated sexually and robbed of their dignity, apart from having their wives or daughters being dragged away to be raped when they themselves become powerless facing guns."

She urged the government to strongly uphold the Human Rights Charter and international treaties and conventions on rights of persons.

"Most importantly", she said, the government should "put into practice the right to freedom for every citizen of this country guaranteed by our National Constitution, and to condemn violence of any kind."

She said violence in society was everyone’s problem and not just a women’s issue.

"Your child, sister, wife or mother’s ordeal can be your worst nightmare, just as a loss of a male member of the family is a loss of security for the families. We value each other," she said.

She also urged the Department of Personnel Management to allow employees to participate in the activities organized around the International Day Against Violence Against Women.

"Violence is a hindrance to our general performance as individuals and collectively as a nation. Violence is therefore a development issue," Ms. Kare said.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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