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PORT MORESBY, 27 NOVEMBER 2019 (POST COURIER) —Violence in general has reached a terrifying high level in Papua New Guinea, says Ambassador of the European Union to Papua New Guinea, Jernej Videtic

Ambassador Videtic said this raises concern and questions need to be asked, especially on the nature of sexual violence in PNG in order to design and promote the best strategies to eliminate it.

He was speaking at the launching of the EU-funded awareness campaign on violence against women in Port Moresby.

He said every country is crippled by this phenomena all over the world, but in PNG, violence in general, is making people feel vulnerable, especially women and children, and this has reached terrifying high levels.

Videtic said there is no instant remedy to tackle the issue and it will take years because it is difficult to change cultures and people’s mindset.

“Sexual violence is deeply-ingrained in society and requires a whole range of responses – educational, social and judicial,” he said.

“The EU will continue commit to stop violence and will always support initiatives – and the size of the project or the money allocated don’t count… solutions must come from the PNG society; they cannot be enforced from the outside.

“This is a vicious circle that must be broken or our efforts will be negated.

“Ending violence is an issue of national emergency; it is the primary responsibility of the state to protect its citizens.”

Ambassador Videtic quoted famous French writer Edouard Louis, who once said: “Violence starts where the speech stops… silence is the worst response, like a double penalty for the victims that are left alone… everybody knows and nobody speaks …”

Although PNG has a whole set of laws and policies to combat gender-based violence, none of them are adequately implemented.

Ambassador Videtic said this is an issue of politics but there has to be a will to get policies involved in the role of women in politics.

“I think the government should address (it) as it is unusual in the 21st Century that women are absent in parliament,” he said.

“This is an issue of most importance (and) needs debate.

“Women are more anxious; it is the responsibility of PNG institutions to improve the situation.

“There are many ways and everyone has a role to play in this fight.”

Police Minister Bryan Kramer said the issue of gender-based violence isn’t just about women; those that are most vulnerable are the children.

“Gender-based violence is a crime that happens at home, behind closed doors – and in most cases, in a room, where everybody wakes up and goes to sleep together in,” he said.

“It’s not everyone, who are victims of gender-based violence; its one-in-three women – that’s one-third of the population, who are victims of GBV, while two-thirds are not.”

He said going forward, gender-based violence being a crime will be given priority by the government.

“I work as a police reservist at the front counter of a police station and I get a lot of complaints from women, who are victims of domestic violence and every time when I raise it with a senior police officer, the response is always as em samting blo marit – it’s a domestic issue, you guys go out and solve it.

“It is also important to understand from a police point of view that if you keep dealing with that issue, it will keeping coming back and you will get tired because there is no solution.”

Kramer said locking up a person will not change anything, therefore, the issue of gender-based violence has to be dealt with programs to help change occur.

“The two-thirds of the population (unaffected) have the responsibility to help mitigate domestic and gender-based violence,” he said…..(PACNEWS)