7 Dec 2004

PNG activist promotes greater role for women in settling tribal disputes

7:42 am on 7 December 2004

A Papua New Guinea activist says women should take the role of resolving conflict in the Highlands.

Sarah Garup, who is in New Zealand for a NGO partners' workshop, says tribal violence in the Highlands is worsening.

She says the region is strongly patriachal, but women should be brought in to solve disputes because the men cannot.

And she says some men are realising it.

Ms Garup gave the example of a male community leader in Enga Province who told a recent forum that he must become a woman if peace is to brought about.

"...and I think that goes a lot to say that men are more aggressive, they are trying to show that they able to defeat the other, and I think that peace should be a responsibility that is left to the women to bring about, because all women want is a good safe family life and safety for themselves as well."

In Enga Province, one group, Kup Women for Peace, has brought together women from opposing sides who have marched into a tribal battle zone ending the fighting.