The women of Papua New Guinea endure some of the most extreme levels of violence in the world. They continue to be attacked with impunity despite their government’s promises of justice. The situation has been described as a humanitarian disaster yet still does not receive the broader public attention it deserves, inside or outside Papua New Guinea. It is also a significant obstacle to Papua New Guinea’s development and prosperity.
This is an issue that should, and does, receive the attention of the Australian Government. Papua new Guinea’s largest aid donor, and nearest neighbour, has invested heavily in law and justice in Papua New Guinea. Australia also explicitly targets gender rights and equity across its aid program. But only so much can be achieved in Papua New Guinea by outsiders. Change will need to come from within. Australia can support this by pressing the Papua New Guinean Government to assign a higher priority to addressing violence and by assisting local civil society efforts that aid the victims of violence and address some of its root causes.