Fijian students design superheroes to challenge ‘Silence’ in comic contest

Students at Holy Trinity Primary School in Suva, Fiji, presented their superheroes designed during a workshop held on Monday. Image: UNICEF

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Advocacy groups have called on children and young people to defeat the “ultimate supervillain” – silence – to help end violence in and around schools.

The Holy Trinity Primary School students’ superheroes will be entered in this global competition organised by UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations.

During the workshop at Holy Trinity Primary School, UNICEF Pacific ambassador Pita Taufatofua said: “Every child in Fiji, in the Pacific islands and throughout the world, has the right to go to school and feel safe.

“Superhero” Love Walker. Image: UNICEF

“Let’s talk about the kind of superpowers that your superhero might have that will help every child feel safe in school.”

The students also had the chance to work with Tui Ledua, from Kanalevu Animation and Illustration.

“How will we create a superhero to prevent bullying?” Ledua told the students.

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He responded to the students’ ideas on the characteristics his superhero should have and brought this character to life right in front of their eyes, a superhero complete with a sasa broom to be used as a magic wand to create a peaceful world.

Silencing children
Silence is a supernatural character that uses its powers to stop children from speaking up and taking action against violence in and around schools.

Children and young people aged 25 years and under have been invited to design their own comic superhero that will defeat Silence and help keep children safe in school.

UNICEF Pacific representative Sheldon Yett said: “From fighting and bullying to sexual harassment and corporal punishment, violence in and around schools can have devastating, long-term consequences for children.”

The Silence superhero comic contest will encourage children and young people in
Fiji and around the world to be part of UNICEF’s global campaign to shed light on and spark action to #ENDviolence in schools through the creative medium of comic design.

The top submissions in the contest will be chosen after the closing date on October 25 by a special panel of judges, including comic artist Gabriel Picolo and last year’s comic contest winner Sathviga “Sona” Sridhar.

The public will then have the opportunity to vote online for their favourite comic hero between November 16 and 25.

The winner will be announced in December and will work with a professional team to turn their winning idea into a full-length comic book. Their comic will be presented to World Leaders at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in July 2019, as well as distributed to schools and children worldwide.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

NZ must help Solomon Islands tackle unemployment ‘time bomb’, says Clark

Former PM Helen Clark at the National Council of Women conference yesterday … New Zealand should rethink its aid structure. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Jessica Marshall in Auckland

The Solomon Islands faces a “time bomb” with a youth unemployment rate of 82 percent and New Zealand needs to do more to help the Pacific country, says former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Youth unemployment is “one of the huge challenges of our time”, she says.

“They’ve all got ideas, they want to do things, and . . . I really urge our aid programme to focus back on some of these basics again,” she told the annual conference of the National Council of Women (NCW) in Auckland yesterday.

READ MORE: Violence against women is a national crisis: Clark

Clark, former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is the new patron of NCW and is the author of a new book launched this weekend, Women, Equality, Power.

She said the New Zealand government needed to rethink how its aid programme was structured.

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“A country like the Solomon Islands could have a future but it needs investment in its agriculture.”

She said New Zealand used to invest its aid programme – in places like Thailand, for example – in the country’s agriculture.

“How much focus have we got on agriculture now?” she asked.

‘No brainer’
“It’s just a no brainer to try to support people back into the value chain.”

She made the call during a discussion on the UN Sustainable Development Goals which Clark was instrumental in developing during her time with UNDP.

Dr Gill Greer, chief executive of NCW, said that the inclusive manner in which Clark went about developing the goals was “not typical of the UN at many times”.

“It was a vision, it is a vision,” said Dr Greer, adding that the goals did not go far enough on the issue of gender.

“The living framework has one indicator, and that is all, and in this room [of 200 people] just think of how many we could suggest immediately?”

Clark replied: “Gender is in every goal”.

Clark also discussed the issue of migrants in Nauru, proclaiming it to be a crisis.

“There is something fundamentally wrong, this is not a sustainable situation and it’s no way to treat people.”

Earlier yesterday, the BBC reported that children had been attempting suicide and self-harm on the island.

The Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit opens in Nauru tomorrow.

Jessica Marshall is a student journalist on AUT’s Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism) course.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

PNG facelifts for APEC but neglects gender-based violence

The Papua New Guinean government has been working tirelessly to clean up its capital city in preparation for APEC, instead of attending to serious issues such as gender-based violence. Pauline Mago-King of Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the challenge.

With just three months to go until the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in November, the Papua New Guinean government has been buckling down to preparations.

The capital of Port Moresby is going through a series of facelifts ranging from continual road upgrades to clean up campaigns.

While these infrastructure developments are needed, they cannot conceal the social issues currently plaguing Papua New Guineans.

One serious issue is the alarming rate at which violence, more specifically gender-based violence, continues to intensify in Papua New Guinea.

According to the World Health Organisation, two out of three PNG women have experienced violence from an intimate partner.

Where intimate partners are not the perpetrators of violence, Papua New Guinean women are vulnerable to violence particularly in their mobility within communities.

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In October 2017, a woman was almost burned to death by a mob who had accused her of practising sorcery.

Rescued from mob
The woman who was later identified as “Elizabeth” from Eastern Highlands was rescued by police officers and taken to a hospital before the mob could do anything else to her.

Stories like that of Elizabeth reiterate that PNG women are more vulnerable than ever and violence is near impossible to escape.

The shows that violence permeates all levels of Papua New Guinean society and a wakeup call is needed for the government to act quickly.

Critics say the level of attention that is being devoted to the APEC leaders summit should also be applied to combatting gender-based violence.

PNG cannot reach development and prosperity until violence against women is dealt with, argued Australian journalist Jo Chandler in a 2014 analysis.

At present, the response to gender-based violence has centred on implementing a 2016 – 2025 National Gender-Based Violence strategy which was officially launched in 2017.

The strategy is intended to be a guide for the PNG government to facilitate the implementation of the legislation, policies and programmes needed to eliminate gender-based violence.

Family protection law
The government has also passed family protection legislation in 2014 to criminalise domestic violence and give more power to protection orders for survivors.

These achievements are a win for gender-based violence survivors as sectorial committees such as the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) will be more equipped to support them and their needs.

FSVAC national coordinator Marcia Kalinoe said the National Gender-Based Violence Strategy “consolidates the current work that is ongoing”.

“Fourteen years ago, there was not much sensitisation and gender mainstreaming and specialised services addressing the issue,” she said.

Kailonoe added that the various legislative changes and multisectoral response would be of great assistance to survivors for accessing support services.

Despite the PNG government’s current milestones and the support of partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donors, PNG is ranked as 140 out of 146 countries in the Gender Inequality Index.

The journey to raise more awareness on gender-based violence has not been an easy feat due to “socially and culturally constructed norms”, as outlined by the UNDP.

Constant challenges
In Durrie Bouscaren’s interview with a UNDP-trained “human rights defender” Linda Tule in June, these social and cultural constructs of unequal power relations were highlighted.

Tule talked about how she had counselled three women a week in spite of operating out of her home and on a limited budget.

She even hosts these women if a safehouse has reached its full capacity.

This is the current scenario for survivors of gender-based violence in PNG.

People like Enid Barlong Kantha, who has worked in the gender-based violence field for more than 10 years, knows the ebbs and flows first-hand.

She says that “challenges remain a constant part of the battle” despite the country’s achievements.

“Even with political will, there is still a lack of resources; human resource, financial support and infrastructure. Where there are services, a lack of capacity hinders progress and continues to frustrate many.”

She adds that the lack of coordination among stakeholders and lack of statistics deter better cooperation and collaboration in the national response to gender-based violence.

Stepping into the future
Advocates recognise that ending gender-based violence in PNG, or anywhere else in the world, cannot be done overnight.

The journey will be long and change will be incremental.

Yet, there are corrective measures that can be taken particularly by the PNG government.

For one thing, more emphasis can be placed on decentralising services to not only the outer provinces but also areas that are rural, say advocates.

This compulsive need to upgrade Port Moresby for the world’s eyes has to stop as it is failing the majority of Papua New Guineans and exacerbating unequal gender and power relations.

There is only so much advocacy and awareness that can be funnelled into eliminating gender-based violence.

Services coupled with awareness, however, can eliminate some of the social and cultural constructs at play in PNG.

As Papua New Guinean journalist Scott Waide has said, “superstition thrives where service delivery is poor”.

Pauline Mago-King is a Papua New Guinean postgraduate student at Auckland University of Technology where she is pursuing a Masters in Communication Studies. As part of her studies, she is researching gender-based violence. She is on AUT’s Asia-Pacific Journalism Studies course.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Step up efforts to support Indonesian women’s rights plea to Jakarta

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Step up efforts to support Indonesian women’s rights plea to Jakarta

By Sheany in Jakarta

The National Commission on Violence Against Women, or Komnas Perempuan, has called on the government to do more to protect women’s rights, particularly by enacting a long-overdue bill on the elimination of sexual violence.

The commission also said that current response to and handling of cases of violence against women in Indonesia was still too slow.

“There are still a number of issues that the government must pay attention to, in order to make sure that women’s rights in Indonesia are protected,” Komnas Perempuan chairwoman Azriana told reporters in Jakarta.

Komnas Perempuan’s annual report revealed that there were nearly 350,000 cases of violence against women in 2017 – a 25 percent increase from the previous year.

The report, which was published a day before International Women’s Day, also criticised the government for its slow prevention and handling mechanisms.

“We are not moving forward with our justice system … There are even no educational efforts to minimise the harmful effect of [cultural] norms that can lead to sexual violence,” Azriana said.

In Indonesia, cases of sexual violence are handled in accordance with the criminal code, the Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, the Law on Child Protection and the Law on Human Trafficking.

Legal vacuum
These laws, however, do not cover all types violence, leaving its victims in legal vacuum.

“Many women who are no longer children [in the eyes of the law] are also victims of sexual violence, but they are not protected. The types of violence also evolve,” Azriana said.

For example, femicide – the killing of a woman or girl on account of her gender – is not traditionally categorised as sexual violence.

“This is one of the reasons why the bill on the elimination of sexual violence must be passed quickly,” Azriana said, adding that Komnas Perempuan and several other organisations have suggested the inclusion of several other types of sexual violence, which are not yet recognised by the law, leaving many victims helpless.

Sheany is a journalist with the Jakarta Globe.

Indonesian protesters call for end to violence against women in Yogya

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Indonesian protesters call for end to violence against women in Yogya

By Rizki Halim in Yogyakarta

Dozens of women held a rally at the Zero Kilometre point in Indonesia’s Central Java city of Yogyakarta to commemorate International Women’s Day yesterday.

Taking up the spirit of feminism, the women, who came from a number of different groups, took up issues related to gender equality in Indonesia.

Action coordinator Adinda Aurellia said that Indonesian women hope that through the commemoration of IWD they could demand the rights that they should be afforded.

“We are voicing many demands at this year’s event in the framework of commemorating International Women’s Day, because there are in fact still many regulations in force that repress women,” said Aurellia.

The many cases of violence that still occur against women was also one of the topics taken up at the action.

This is bearing in mind that violence against women is an issue that to this day is still widespread because of the prevalent stereotypes about women in society that still see them as weak.

Through the rally on Thursday, the protesters hope that gender equality can truly be realised in Indonesia and that discriminative behaviour against women will no longer occur.

Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was “Peringati ‘International Womens Day’, Puluhan Perempuan Gelar Aksi di Titik Nol Kilometer Yogya”.

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‘Embalming’ hampers autopsy finding in death of PNG journalist

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: ‘Embalming’ hampers autopsy finding in death of PNG journalist

By Staycey Yalo in Port Moresby

The final autopsy report on Post-Courier journalist Rosalyn Albaniel Evara, handed to the Papua New Guinean Coroner’s Court last week, has an “undetermined death” finding.

PNG journalist Rosalyn Evara (left) on assignment. Image: EMTV News

Chief Pathologist Dr Seth Fose conducted the full autopsy and compiled the report, saying the cause of death was undetermined due to embalming, which had restricted the evidence at the time of autopsy, despite there being a reported history of domestic or physical violence.

While police investigations continue, Coroner Mekeo Gauli, said the journalist’s death earlier this month would not be taken lightly, as there was a huge public outcry for justice.

READ MORE: PNG prime minister O’Neill condemns violence against women, reports Pacific Media Watch

Evara died on 15 October 2017 at her company residence in the Port Moresby suburb of Boroko after she had complained of severe headaches.

The report of her death and the circumstances surrounding it received widespread calls for further investigations when her aunt, Mary Albaniel, revealed disturbing images of her bruised body during her funeral.

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The pictures, according to Albaniel, were taken a day after her death, before the deceased’s body was taken to the funeral home.

The body then underwent embalming, the process of preserving the human flesh after death to delay decomposition.

Common sense
Medical practitioners say it is common sense that the autopsy must take place before the embalming.

This is the basis for Dr Fose’s medical opinion. He stated that based upon the autopsy of tissue microscopy analysis and police report to the coroner, a cause of death could be determined.

Adding that the contributing factor in limiting identification and interpretation of evidence of injuries, trauma, and natural disease was embalming artefacts and changes present at time of autopsy in spite of the history of domestic or physical assault.

However, as the funeral pictures revealed, the issue has not been taken lightly.

Coroner Gauli said that because of the keen public interest in this case, the matter will not be taken lightly.

He told EMTV that in a situation where nobody is charged, it would be up to him to call an inquest for all involved parties to come forward and give evidence before the National Court.

Public outcry
When the police concluded their investigations, the death would go before the coroner to give his decision.

Detective Chief Sergeant Ulagis Mantu of the police Homicide Division said investigations were still ongoing because of public outcry.

He said that while the coroner himself will give his opinion on the matter of the final report, he was calling on Rosalyn Evara’s family to come forward and give him their statements.

Staycey Yalois is an EMTV News journalist. Asia Pacific Report republishes EMTV News reports with permission.

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