Justice Dingake delivers webinar on Human Rights in PNG.

The PNG Centre for Judicial Excellence conducted a webinar on 22 November 2023 on the topic of Human Rights in Papua New Guinea, focusing specifically on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in PNG as violation of Human Rights.

The one-hour webinar was conducted by Justice Oagile Dingake, who is a Judge of the Supreme and National Courts of PNG. Judge Dingake is also the first African to be appointed Justice of the Supreme and National Courts of PNG, having previously served as a Justice of the Court of Appeal in Seychelles, East Africa.

In his presentation, Justice Dingake stated that gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It involves acts of violence against women, men, boys, and girls as a result of social norms about roles and behavior expected of each gender. GBV often occurs within relationships of varying contexts, for example in marriages or family relations and knows no social, economic, or natural barrier.

Judge Dingake stated that both men and women experience GBV, however statistics have shown that most of these victims are women and girls. Victims of such violence, can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and even death.

While delivering his seminar, Judge Dingake stated that he had consulted many experts in the UN, academia, and civil society on the topic.

“I read several of the UN Reports and those of non-governmental bodies on GBV in PNG and found that there is little data on gender-based violence. Now and then, the nation is shocked by high profile murder cases and violence meted out at those accused of sorcery. According to the UN Gender Inequality Index, PNG is ranked 161, and 135 on the Global Gender Gap Index.”

Justice Dingake also added that there are a number of laws that deal with GBV, such as the Criminal Code Act, Family Protection Act of 2013, the Juvenile Justice Act of 2014, the 2015 Lukautim Pikinini Act, and the Infants and Young Children Supply Act of 2023.

“The Criminal Code Act deals with physical violence offences such as murder, manslaughter, wounding, assault occasioning bodily harm and aggravated

assault. It also deals with sexual offences like rape, sexual assault, sexual touching, persistent sexual abuse of a child, and incest,” said Justice Dingake.

He emphasized that the right to dignity and security of the person is recognized by PNG Constitution. This means that GBV is a violation of human rights in terms of the Constitution.

Justice Dingake concluded by saying that Law is an important governance tool that can help ensure that states respect, protect and promote human rights.

“It is of critical importance that school curricula should include topics related to human rights and ensure that students are exposed to alternative methods of resolving personal and group conflicts which are based on negotiation and mediation, instead of aggression and violence. In addition, teachers need to be trained so that they can detect incidents and situations of GBV in the families of their students,” Justice Dingake emphasized.

A question-and-answer session was concluded successfully at the end of the online seminar.

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