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ICRC briefing on PNG
June 1, 2017 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
In the lead up to the national elections in PNG next month, ICRC’s chief official in Papua New Guinea, Mr Mark Kessler, will be briefing FCA members and also screening a new documentary (20 minutes) about the impacts of tribal warfare in the Highlands of PNG. While tribal conflict has long been a problem in PNG, a recent influx of high-powered guns into the tribal communities and a general breakdown in the traditional rules governing warfare are amplifying the effects of the violence. Today, nobody is spared from the ferocity of a fight – anyone and anything is a target, including children, health clinics, and schools. These fights – sparked by disputes over land, resources and community grievances relating to issues such as sorcery and sexual violence – lead to hundreds of violent deaths and thousands of displacements each year. PNG will hold its national elections next month. Unfortunately, it’s widely anticipated that tensions over the elections will lead to an increase in violence.
The ICRC has had an office in Mt Hagen, in the PNG Highlands, since 2012, in order to provide help to those impacted by fighting. The organisation’s efforts include distributing aid to displaced families, rehabilitating health clinics and ensuring access to clean water, and staging community drama productions that highlight important humanitarian messages (i.e children and public infrastructure must be spared during conflict), among other activities. Due to the prevailing insecurity in the Highlands, and remote locations of the villages involved in conflict, there is very little news about what’s happening in this troubled region. As the head of the ICRC’s activities in PNG, Mr Kessler is able to provide a rare and interesting insight into the current conflict situation in the Highlands.
WHEN: Thursday 01 June 2017
TIME: 10.30am-12pm (Light snacks will be served.)
WHERE: DFAT NSW Office, Angel Place, Level 10 123 Pitt Street, Sydney.
RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org by COB Friday, 26 May 2017.