Press Release

United Nations urges stronger action to end the scourge of violence in PNG communities.

06 March 2023

The United Nations in Papua New Guinea strongly condemns two incidents of horrific and senseless violence against women and girls reported during the past 24 hours. 

One incident allegedly involved sustained violence against four school cleaners accused of sorcery in Porgera, Enga Province.

In a separate incident, it is alleged that a primary school girl was taken as a sex slave in the Fugwa area of Hela Province.

“These incidents must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. It is unacceptable that in the 21st Century so many women and young girls are living in fear simply because of their gender,” said Mr Richard Howard, the UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea. He described as “deplorable” the “senseless acts of violence, isolation, and marginalisation being perpetrated against females in the country and against the backdrop of International Women’s Day.”

The UN calls for accountability and an end to impunity for all forms of violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea. These incidents, like others reported all too frequently in recent years, show total disregard for human dignity. These continued abuses show deep-rooted discrimination against women and girls and are utterly unacceptable, and we need to accelerate a concerted effort to end all forms of violence.

Mr. Howard said, “the UN denounces the harmful and illegal practice of Sorcery Accusation Related Violence (SARV) and any form of violence, slavery, and trafficking. It is a matter of urgency that authorities intensify their efforts to rid Papua New Guinea’s communities of the scourge of gender-based violence”.

The UN and its partners are always prepared to assist, but the State of PNG has the primary responsibility to ensure the safety of all persons, particularly its most vulnerable members of society.

That responsibility extends to facilitating safe, unimpeded and sustained support to those affected by this violence.

Mr. Howard said survivors of violence can seek support through the UN for services associated with health care, accommodation and reintegration.

Nicole Jeune - Communications for UN Resident Coordinator_Papua New Guinea

Nicole Jeune

Programme Communication and Advocacy

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office for Project Services
World Health Organization

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