Law protecting women ‘weak’

National

WOMEN needs tougher laws to protect them from sorcery-related accusation and killing, an official says.
Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation director Ruth Kissam says women in the Highlands accused of practising sorcery are at risk of being tortured and killed by members of their community and for 30 years police have not been able to do anything about it.
She said that even a child under the age of six years can be killed with the mother should the mother be accused of sorcery because of the belief that the child can inherit the mother’s sorcery powers.
“Community endorses the killing,” Kissam said.
“Even the husband, uncles, aunties and children agree to kill the mother and wife.” Kissam said most victims were barren, widowed, not married, liabilities at home, disabled or not actively involved with the communities.
She said women accused of sorcery were mostly aged 35 years and older.
Kissam said the law was not effective and unable to protect women from sorcery-related torture and killing.
“There are many innocent lives being taken away because of false claims of sorcery, when people die of sicknesses,” she said.
Kissam said that through its programmes throughout the country, Tribal Foundation has found that sorcery beliefs were increasing in Morobe, Madang and Bougainville, resulting in fighting and killings.
She said they had called on the Government to enforce the law that covers sorcery-related crime and prosecute both the perpetrators and instigators.
Kissam said the fight against sorcery-related killings and torture would be helped by the creation of a national human rights commission, which Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had called for in 2012 and again last year.

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