Unification Meet Underway In Buka
BY SEBASTIAN HAKALITS
Women of North, Central and South Bougainville have come together in Buka for the Unification Conference that began yesterday with at the Bougainville House of Representatives chamber with the theme of ‘Uniting Bougainville for a free and fair Referendum’.
Before the women could enter the parliament chamber, a customary welcome and cleansing ceremony was conducted with women presenting four pigs and garden produce as a sign of respect to enter the BHoR and showing the true Bougainville way.
Autonomous Bougainville Government Member for North Bougainville Women and Deputy Speaker of the House Francesca Semoso, who led the women, said we the women recognise our ABG parliament and we also recognise our four women members but we must still do it the correct Bougainville way when we are bringing all the women into the chamber.
She said it is a house that women are part and parcel of as women play a very important role in the society but we the women are following the true custom of Bougainville.
“As we are walking in the referendum period we must make sure that we are doing it correctly so that our sons, daughters, and men can see that we the women are showing the true identity of Bougainville,” said Ms Semoso.
Speaker of the BHoR Simon Pentanu said that, given that Bougainville is leading in many aspects of gender of women’s participation in politics, of how women are taking part in the peace process, the unification process and considering all these, he said it was not hard for him to say yes to the women to use the parliament chamber for the unification conference.
Mr Pentanu said the process of unification this week is not that you are coming here to talk now but you women have been in unification even before the ceasefire till today and in some way it is a review in terms of where are we now, in terms of the things we have spoken about, the things that women have discussed in their own groups, in their federation, things that women members have talked about in parliament as members and it is a review because a lot of new things have happened.
The conference runs for this whole week and on Wednesday and Friday, open day activities will be hosted by the women at the Bel Isi Park.
The conference is supported by the United Nations in