BY REBECCA KUKU
THE response by the Government and leaders to sorcery-related violence has been sadly inadequate, says Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker.
Barker said the situation had become a crisis where many citizens had been targeted, tortured and burnt alive. Yet the Government and leaders had not responded adequately.
“The Department of Justice and Attorney-General has certainly been active, and a few leaders vocal. But the overall leadership, coordination between government agencies with civil society and funding have been severely inadequate,” he said.
“As some have highlighted, it’s difficult to see how Papua New Guinea can host this big Apec gathering in NCD, with visiting international heads of Government, while its own citizens are being burnt and killed, with little action being taken by the Government to address the issue.”
Barker said the government’s Sorcery National Action Plan (SNAP) was to address violence against persons accused of sorcery.
But despite the effort and commitment by some NGOs supporting “heroic human rights defenders” who raise awareness and rescue victims of such violence, “the plan overall has not been funded by government and largely not implemented to date”.
He said funding and prompt support should be made available to government and civil society bodies, including the heroic human rights defenders, to undertake much more extensive awareness.
Barker said people must report incidents and promptly rescue persons accused.
BY REBECCA KUKU