Woman magistrate retires after 37 years of service

30/01/2012 22:27

Principal magistrate Thomas Morabang presenting a gift to retiring magistrate Christine Kowor Anawe. Picture

and story courtesy of NBC News.


The East Sepik province in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has bid farewell to its longest serving female district court magistrate.

Christian Kowor Anawe, 65, of Magopin village on the west coast of East Sepik has retired after 37 years of service to the province and the country.

Her career in the public service began in 1967 in Wewak with what used to be known as the information and extension services, the colonial administration's information service, before moving to the National Broadcasting Commission's Radio Wewak as a broadcaster.

In 1975 she joined the PNG Magisterial Services as a trainee magistrate, becoming only the third woman at that time to join the service and the first woman from the province to be elevated to the district court bench.

Speaking at a farewell attended by members of the law and justice sector, East Sepik senior provincial magistrate David Susame said she was leaving at a critical juncture with the PNG Magisterial Services undergoing positive developments inline with the government's white paper on the law and justice sector.

"Some of these developments are progressive and yet to be realised. Christian has been part and partial of some of these changes," he said.

Aaron Menau, the commander of Boram correctional service in East Sepik, said her departure left a vacuum in PNG Magisterial Services which could not be filled. Young people should taken on from the retired magistrate, he added as he lamented the retired magistrate's departure.

The absence of gender equality in PNG's law and justice sector - including the PNG Magisterial Services - has been acknowledged by donors as a problem. A 2008 AusAID report  concluded that increasing the number of women magistrates can address PNG's chronic family and sexual violence problems.    

AusAID, the Australian international aid agency, is funding a female magistrates training program as part of its support for the PNG law and justice sector and estimates that it would have trained 700 female village court magistrates by July last year.