PNG WOMEN MARCH IN SUPPORT OF FREEDOM FROM VIOLENCE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 5, 2001 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Hundreds of women waving placards with slogans decrying violence against women and children marched through Lae's central business district in an International Day for Violence Against Women event.

The women then marched to the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium where they were addressed by Moresby South MP Lady Carol Kidu and representatives of agencies concerned with violence against women and the protection of children.

The women carried placards saying: "Real Men Don't Hit Women", "Without Women There Will Not Be A Human Race", "We Brought You Into This World, Respect Us", "Say Yes To Women And No To Rape", "God Created Us Because We Are Just As Important."

The program, supported by Soroptomist International of Lae, the Lions and Lioness clubs, and various other women’s and NGO groups, continued at the Lae International Hotel in the evening.

Addressing the gathering at the stadium, Lady Carol Kidu said one of the biggest problems faced in the fight against violence against women is that most women did not report these incidences to the police.

She said: "The biggest problem is not with sentencing those found guilty of violence against women. It is the reporting of the offenders and getting people to speak out openly. This is especially true of sexual violence against women and children."

Lady Carol said she hopes to have the proposed laws relating to crimes against women and children passed and made law before the June elections.

She also said she would pursue laws relating to domestic violence as a private member’s bill, if she is returned after the national elections.

The women presented a petition to Lady Carol, who assured them that she would present their petition to Parliament. The petition also called on police and other law enforcing authorities as well as the justice system to protect those rights.

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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