By Lillian Sopera Keneqa – EMTV News, Port Morsby
Papua New Guinea now has a Human Rights Defenders Association. Most Human Rights Defenders or HRDs are not mandated and are only seen as volunteers. The Association now gives them a credible platform to be heard. The PNG Human Rights Defenders Association took over three years to see this credible platform reached.
UN Women, Deputy Country Representative, Adekemi challenged individuals present asking “Why do you need an association? She then answered saying, “It provides a platform that is credible, and that when you approach law makers, you will be heard.”
In January 2017, thirty community leaders were identified and invited from the three electorates in Port Moresby to be trained. Ten HRD’s were also trained as trainers.
During the launching, more than 50 showed up to celebrate the milestone achievement.
NCD Governor, Powes Parkop during his address said, “Rights come with responsibilities. Let’s advocate human rights with responsibility”
The journey has been long, hard, but with the launch of the association, the human right’s defenders have more power to work together to help those who are suffering.
HRDAPNG President, Linda Tule said “The work we do is challenging. Our future plans, among others, is to set up safe houses, get logistical support and more physical presence on ground.