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PNG governor accuses UN experts of lying about gender ‘thuggery’

PNG's Gary Juffa ... Image: Wantok

PNG’s Gary Juffa … nation has ‘long history of gender equality”. Image: Wantok

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel and Finian Scott in Wellington

Papua New Guinea’s staunchly anti-colonial Oro Province governor has accused the United Nations of lying about the extent of gender inequality in the Pacific region.

Gary Juffa made the statements during the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum, happening this weekend in Wellington.

“The academic brigades from the UN who are coming forward, are consistently and constantly telling us we’re all thugs, living in caves, beating our women, forcing them to cook and do the laundry,” Juffa told delegates in a passionate speech.

APJlogo72_icon“This is not true. We have a long history of gender equality.

“In my tribe, the women achieve greatness if they achieve it for themselves. We do not define greatness by sexes – we define greatness by a person’s deeds and a person’s ability to rise up. My great grandmother was a warrior. She went to war with men of our tribe.

“I think there needs to be a little bit more research done by experts, who apparently know about the Pacific, but not too much.”

He urged Western observers to emphasise the growth within each nation and avoid one-size-fits-all approaches. He said each national government would have a different way of dealing with the issue.

Gaining momentum
Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso Akele believes there is still much work to be done within Papua New Guinea.

“We are gaining momentum now in Papua New Guinea, with the National Council of Women and other non government organisations. I think women are now thinking of women taking leadership roles in Parliament,” she told Johnny Blades of Radio New Zealand International.

“In the culture we have, the men are the boss, and the women are the ones behind them.”

She said sorcery was an ongoing issue for women in the country.

Michael Sergel and Finian Scott are Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student journalists at AUT University. They are covering the Pacific politics forum for Pacific Scoop and the Pacific Media Centre as an Asia-Pacific Journalism assignment.

An Ausaid poster for women

An Ausaid poster for women in the Pacific … challenges and opportunities. Image: PMC