Stand up with women in Papua New Guinea

By Hannah Harborow, Amnesty International

Can we ignore a call for help from our nearest neighbour?

Right on our doorstep two-thirds of women experience violence at the hands of their husbands and 60% of men admit to participating in gang rape.

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the statistics are incomprehensibly shocking, but the personal stories are even worse.

Imagine the constant fear of living in an environment where your husband is the perpetrator, your family often the facilitators and where the authorities - at best - simply turn a blind eye.

These are the stories we have heard from too many women in PNG. They have few people to turn to - and so now, they turn to us - to people like you and me.

Will you take a moment to stand up with women in PNG, who right now are asking for your support?

Some progress has been made - in 2008, the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, spoke publicly of his shame over his country’s appalling rates of domestic violence. Then last year, he made a commitment to eradicate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

Yet while we can applaud this strong commitment, so far there has been little firm action taken on the ground.

So we’re holding the PNG Prime Minister accountable by hand-delivering our petition in Port Moresby, calling publicly for action. Will your name, and those of your friends and family, be on it?

As PNG’s nearest neighbour and largest bilateral aid donor, Australian public opinion matters. With every name on the petition, the pressure builds. PNG’s leaders begin to shift nervously as the spotlight shines on them. And the women of PNG, who have endured so much, have a reason to hope.

So even if you’ve signed the petition already - please take a moment to spread the word about the atrocities on our doorstep.

Thank you for using your voice,

Hannah Harborow
Stop Violence Against Women campaign
Amnesty International Australia

PS. This Monday marks International Women's Day. Let’s create a groundswell with one very clear message: women’s rights are human rights. And we refuse to turn a blind eye. Not now, not ever.

Stand up with women in PNG