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Papua New Guinea

Women human rights defenders forum ends

Two hundred women from across all districts of Bougainville who are a part of the world human rights defenders network, supported by Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation (NCfR), came together for talks from October 15 to 19.
It was the staging of the Bougainville Women Human Rights Defenders forum.
The participants were women leaders who are trained by NCfR to lead educational, advocacy, awareness raising and other activities at the community level to address issues of gender based violence, gender inequality, women’s rights, community development and building peaceful communities.
The importance of such work was highlighted by one participant of last year’s WHRDs Forum in Siwai, who said: “Before we saw these issues of violence as a family matter.
“After the awareness we’ve been doing in the community, people understand.”
The significance of this event is coupled with the unique program design, showcasing women’s groups across different locations over five days. The theme of each day was aligned with the three international days: International Day of Rural Women (Oct 15), World Food Day (Oct 16) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Oct 17). The forum consisted of presentations, panel discussions and small group sessions, as well as late evening activities to contribute to empowering WHRDs by strengthening their relationships and networks.
The forum celebrates WHRDs and the continued work of rural women contributing to the development of Bougainville.
During the forum, NCfR launched the second phase of the ‘From Gender Based Violence to Gender Justice and Healing’ project.
This project is supported by the Australian government in partnership with the PNG government as part of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program.
The first phase of the project that ended in March 2018, reached almost 22,000 people through counselling, service provision, awareness raising and trainings.
NCfR and its WHRDs network lead on very important work contributing to the prevention of and response to family and sexual violence in Bougainville.

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