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High rates of abuse and discrimination in PNG

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 1, 2010) - American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Papua New Guinea (PNG) this week - raising hopes of a greater focus on tackling high levels of violence against women in the Pacific nation.

In a flying visit to Port Moresby on Wednesday, Ms. Clinton will "stress the importance of empowering women".

The rights group Amnesty says women in PNG suffer extremely high rates of abuse and discrimination.

In a statement announcing Mrs. Clinton's visit, the United States embassy in Port Moresby said the secretary was particularly interested in the passage of a bill designed to give women a greater voice in the PNG parliament.

Only one woman, Dame Carol Kidu, at present serves in PNG's 109-member parliament and the United Nations-backed bill will ensure that 22 seats in the house are reserved for women.

[PIR editor’s note: Kidu is an Australian-born Papua New Guinean politician. She is the only female Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister. She is also the leader of the Melanesian Alliance Party.]

The move would allow female representation from every province.

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