Death penalty disturbing, frightening, human rights activists says

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014

 PROVINCIAL human rights activists say the death penalty in Papua New Guinea is disturbing and frightening.

The Eastern Highlands Human Rights Network Committee (EHPHRNC), comprising 30 organisations, believes that in a weak democracy such as PNG, the law will cause more problems than it will solve.

Committee chairman John Ericho and his group oppose the death penalty approved for implementation this year.

In a report last month an official of the Constitutional Law Reform said 13 people on death row awaited a decision from Cabinet on the method of execution and the building of proper facilities for the particular purpose.

Ericho said the government should rethink and concentrate its effort on enforcing the existing legislation to ensure that people got the best services in turn to promote peace and harmony.

In a country where payback killings are part of society, the committee believes that it will only be encouraged and people will think nothing of the death penalty.

Some points by the HRNC are that the law will encourage murder where criminals will have more reason to kill their victims to clear evidence; or citizens may believe they can take the law into their own hands and implement the death penalty themselves.

This will then weaken the law and justice system, it said.

HRNC says the process will also be costly to run and money put in to this should go to other development purposes.