Poor education, health service blamed for rise in witchcraft violence


THE lack of education and literacy, and health services, especially in rural areas, is partly responsible for the ongoing sorcery-related violence, says Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker.
Barker made the statement after a six-year-old girl, the daughter of the late Lenita Kapari who was accused of sorcery and burnt in Mt Hagen, was also tortured after being accused of sorcery.
He said it was a tragic and a deplorable situation for the young girl whose story had once again highlighted the plight of too many – largely women. He said children and men, too, had been accused of practising sorcery. “The apparent increase in the number and severity of cases of violence against persons accused of sorcery and extension of this behaviour into areas where it wasn’t previously prevalent, has many apparent causes,” he said.
“But it partly relates to the high levels of morbidity and mortality and inadequate explanation by health workers of the causes of sickness and death from non-communicable and communicable diseases, or accidents.
“It also relates to the breakdown of traditional authority and deficient application of, and respect for, the rule of law, allowing young men, often with too much time on their hands, to take the law into their own hands.
“They use, or stir up, fear and apprehension in the community, finding some weaker members of the community, an old woman, even a child, or a community leader or innovator, to accuse and victimise.”