WHITE Ribbon Day and Papua New Guinea’s 20 days of activism were both commemorated at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spokesperson said the Australian High Commission has worked with local organisations to hold a number of events promoting gender equality and reducing violence against women and girls.

Events were held in Port Moresby, Manus and Buka.

White Ribbon Day was commemorated on 24 November 2014 with the launch of a moving photographic exhibition entitled Crying Meri, by Vlad Sokin that showed images of women and children tortured through sorcery.

About 80 people attended the exhibition which marked the international day of the elimination of violence against women.

The annual White Ribbon Day breakfast was hosted by PNG’s Coalition for Change in collaboration with the Business Coalition for Women, held on 25 November 2014, a DFAT spokesperson said.

A DFAT spokesperson said the 2014 theme was on ‘Businesses Say NO to Violence Against Women,’ with the breakfast attended by 300 people from business, government and civil society.

Funded through the Pacific Women in PNG, the Business Coalition for Women launched a family and sexual violence policy to be adopted by many of the 40 business members of the coalition.

Another part of this commemoration, the Pikinini (Child) Witness Workshop, was held on 27 November.

The workshop was a PNG-Australia collaborative effort to reduce the number of acquittals of family and sexual violence prosecutions by improving the interviewing of child witnesses.

A first of its kind in PNG, the workshop was attended by 40 PNG police officers, prosecutors and legal aid lawyers.

The workshop was delivered by the Queensland police, Crown Prosecutors and an eminent child development specialist, professor Martine Power from Deakin University, a DFAT spokesperson said in a statement.

The workshop was organised by Australian Attorney-General’s Department prosecutor adviser and Australian Federal Police advisers, and funding through the broader law and justice sector program.

In Bougainville, the Australian High Commission in partnership with the Bougainville Women’s Federation hosted a White Ribbon Day breakfast followed by a peaceful march to end violence against women.

United Nations Women representative Agnes Titus spoke at the event in Bougainville and called for an increase in the number of women in parliament, laws to protect women and male advocates.

Focused on raising awareness of attitudinal change among men and boys to address the high prevalence of violence against women in PNG, a ‘Women in Sports’ fun day was held at the University of PNG, on 28 November, a DFAT spokesperson said.

Over 150 girls from four primary schools participated in the event.