Joint Statement on Strengthening the Protection of Children Affected by Tribal Conflicts in the Highlands Region of Papua New Guinea

Members of the Papua New Guinea Child Protection Alliance

We, the members of PNG Child Protection Alliance, a network of members committed to advocating for the protection of children, appeal for the immediate end of tribal violence towards children in all provinces.

We unequivocally condemn the continuing violence against children across Papua New Guinea, especially the appalling incident on Monday, where innocent children were killed during tribal fights in Hela Province’s Tari-Pori District.

The violent killing of 18 people, including eight children, and two pregnant women, is one of the most deplorable human rights violations against children in Papua New Guinea in recent years.

This brutal violence must stop. Children are not, and must never be the target of violence.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to grow up without violence. Nevertheless, it is estimated that 75% of children in PNG experience violence at some point during their childhood.

Evidence shows that children who have witnessed violence often suffer severe psychological trauma that has devastating consequences on their mental and physical health.

The Child Protection Alliance acknowledges the Government’s swift action to send security reinforcements to the affected areas and bring perpetrators to justice. We urge all parties to adhere to and respect humanitarian principles and ensure the utmost safety and protection for all children in the area.

We also appeal to the PNG government and donor agencies to ensure greater and more sustainable investments for the prevention and response to all forms of violence against children in PNG. This includes fostering a culture of respect for children’s rights across all societal groups and networks, especially in the homes, schools, and communities. We continue to express our strong commitment to working with government stakeholders, communities, young people and children towards a PNG that is free of violence against children. 

About the Papua New Guinea Child Protection Alliance

The Alliance’s main goal is to end violence against children and address child protection issues in Papua New Guinea. It is a platform for NGOs, local civil society organisations, partners and UNICEF to share information, undertake joint advocacy, and collaborate on child protection efforts in PNG. The Alliance is a sub-group of the Pacific Child Protection Working Group.

Members: Cheshire Disability Services, Child Fund, Equal Playing Field, Plan, Save the Children, Tribal Foundation, World Vision, and UNICEF