Papuan Women confront sexual crimes everywhere

Papuan Women confront sexual crimes everywhere

Bintang Papua, 10 December 2010


The anniversary of the Day to Combat Violence Against Women was marked on 10 December in Jayapura with a ceremony attended by people from a number of civil society organisations, as well as from the government's Institute to Empower Women and a number of religious bodies.


The ceremony was illuminated by one thousand candles that had been lit in the forecourt of the office of the MRP (Papuan People's Assembly) as a symbol of light, according to an opening speech by Agus Alua, chair of the MRP, to mark International Human Rights Day.

On the occasion, deputy chair of the MRP, Hana Hikoyabi said that marking the day of violence against women is closely associated with the history of the Papuan people during which women have been the persistent victims of military acts of violence.

'Everywhere, we are being raped and subjected to sexual molestation, in prisons, out in the fields, whenever seeking refuge, whenever the army and the police conduct operations in the name of security, and even in our own homes. We are victims of violence. And when we scream for help, they reply that it's a family matter.'

She said that throughout the length and breadth of Papua, there is no place where women can find protection against violence. 'Everywhere, we are increasingly facing the danger of HIV/AIDS and our lives are being lost. For how much longer will this situation continue?'

In her reflections on this occasion, Hana said that the voice of Papuan women is an integral part of all the documentation about human rights abuses in the Land of Papua. It would appear, she said, that upholding truth and justice as an integral part of our lives has not been achieved.

Events to mark the Day to Combat Violence Against Women began on 25 November and continued for 16 days, coming to a climax on 10 December, on which occasion women from all walks of life gathered together and held a joint action to press for an end to all this violence wherever it occurs.

Recently a book was published by MRP called 'It Must Stop!' [STOP Sudah!] is which 261 cases of violence were documented, where three types of violence in particular were identified: firstly, violence by members of the security forces which identified 138 cases of women who had experienced sexual violence, the second, violence within the family with 98 cases being documented and thirdly, cases of physical violence or serial violence.

Another speaker on this occasion was Lucia Erni who said that Papuan women were faced with a situations in which they were trapped and were the main victims of violence. She said that all people who are concerned about women's problems must wage a campaign to publicise the situation of violence. She said that even the chief of police in Papua had expressed his astonishment about the large number of cases that had been documented about violence that had been perpetrated by members of the security forces.