B’ville sorcery-related killing condemned

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday 16th April 2013

 THE North Bougainville Human Rights Commission has strongly condemned the recent murder of Helen Rumbali and the kidnap and torture of her sister Nikono in Bana district, South Bougainville.

Both were accused of sorcery.

A commission member said: “This is a complete violation of these two women’s human rights – their right to life and their right to live a life free from violence and torture.”

The member said if Nikono was still alive, the police, peace officers and civil society organizations should facilitate her immediate relocation to a safe house and provide her medical treatment, legal assistance and counseling.

“Spreading false rumours of witchcraft, as well as the torture or killing of anyone accused of witchcraft, is against Bougainville culture, against the teaching of the Bible and against the law,” the member said. 

“If you have suspicions of sorcery, report it. Don’t take the law into your own hands.”

The commission said the Autonomous Bougainville Government must protect its people.

The commission called on the ABG to use its police force in such incidents and notprivate security firms, especially those which employ ex-combatants. 

“If ex-combatantsare injured or killed while attempting to resolve community disputes it will only lead to more deaths and violence.

“Instead, the ABG must educate and train its police, village magistrates, peace officers tointervene as soon as rumours begin and to prosecute those who spread them.

“Spreadingrumours is against the law in Papua New Guinea.”