PNG daily Post-Courier joins fight against gender-based violence

Vlad Sokhin documents violence against PNG women
An undated Post-Courier article highlighting the work of Russian photojournalist Vlad Sokhin documenting violence against Papua New Guinean women. Image: asopa.typepad

By Claudia Tally in Port Moresby

The Post-Courier daily newspaper is one of 15 companies in Papua New Guinea that have pledged to fight against gender-based violence (GBV) while promoting gender equality within and outside of the workplace.

Signing the National Capital District Commission’s “Zero Tolerance to GBV Pledge” under its GBV Strategy 2020–2022, means that as organisations, the 15 companies will partner with the NCDC to eradicate all forms of violence within the city through their employees.

City manager Ravu Frank congratulated the organisations for taking the bold step at the signing up yesterday, noting that addressing GBV-related issues in the city required a collective effort from the municipal authority in partnership with all stakeholders.

PNG Post-Courier

“We came up with the NCDC GBV Strategy to raise awareness of the acts of violence against women with the view to end violent behavior against women and to regard them as equal partners in development,” he said.

“I am glad that a good number of our contractors have shown commitment to this cause.

“By signing the pledge all NCDC contractors agree to avoid any form of violence against women at their workplace, at home and in public.

“All NCDC contractors will be accountable for their violent actions against women and will seriously impact their engagement with NCDC leading to the termination of their contracts.”

Second batch of companies
This is the second batch of companies that have contracts with the city authority to sign the GBV pledge.

NCDC commenced implementation of the three-pillar Zero Tolerance to GBV Strategy 2020–2022 last year. The first was Walk the Talk with a compulsory signing of a pledge by NCDC staff to abstain from any form of violence.

The engagement of contractors is part of the second pillar to involve stakeholders and partners and the third is the demand for a community free from gender-based violence.

Hebou Construction Limited was one of the first companies to sign up.

According to health and safety manager Larry Watson, the pledge has helped the company give back to its employees and community through promoting gender equality and ensuring that female employees get proper assistance when needed.

In an editorial on Tuesday, the Post-Courier quoted from the first African-American President Barack Obama:

“You can judge a nation and how successful it will be based on how it treats women and girls.”

“And his observation, we say, is an expression of wisdom and truth,” said the newspaper.

“No country in the world will improve itself where the culture of violence against women exists, that is what he meant in his statement.

‘A lot of talk’
“In PNG there’s being a lot of talk and even action on violence against women and girls, but the message and progress has been unsatisfactory.

“Just last week bodies of two women were discovered in the nation’s capital with preliminary examination showing that they were raped and murdered.”

The Post-Courier said that while some might say that the two incidents were isolated, “we say its not and that despite numerous efforts by NGOs, churches and even parliamentarians on this issue, the incidences of women and girls being mistreated and murdered is slowly on the rise again.”

The newspaper said there were three major factors in the violence and the community’s response:

  • It is a cultural issue and it is huge;
  • It is not recognised as a development issue; and
  • We’re just talking; no money and no real action

The Post-Courier said it was time to recognise that mistreatment of women was the biggest drawback in the country’s national development.

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