PNG raises eyebrows

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday October 10th, 2013

 THE European Union, United Kingdom and France are following closely Papua New Guinea’s debate on the death penalty.

Crime levels in PNG are often described as unsustainably high and the discussion about how to address the situation had a long history, according to a joint statement from ambassadors Martin Dihm and Pascal Maubert of the European Union and France, and United Kingdom High Commissioner to PNG, Jackie Barson.

“In particular, the headlines about atrocious crimes committed against women, including rape and sorcery-related crimes have fuelled the debate this year,” the statement said. 

“The PNG Government acted and has adopted a package of measures to address the serious issues of violent crime.

“The European Union, the United Kingdom, France and all other member states of the union are following the debate with great interest.”

The three diplomats released the statement on the eve on the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Oct 10.

They said the Sorcery Act was considered by many as having provided pretexts in the past to commit horrific crimes and its recent repeal could only be seen as a positive step. 

“Equally, the increase of penalties for certain crimes, including rape, have been welcomed. 

“However, for the EU, the most disturbing suggestion, discussed frequently as a measure to curb crime, is the proposal to resume implementation of the death penalty.

The death penalty was last executed in Papua New Guinea in 1954. Since Papua New Guinea’s independence no execution has taken place.