Sorcery violence faces holy war


MORE than 20 different churches have committed to a joint national church strategy to combat sorcery accusation-related violence.
Papua New Guinea has in place its own sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) national action plan and this strategy developed by the churches is meant to complement the work led by the Government to help end a practice blamed for destroying hundreds of lives and damaging many communities across the country every year.
Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) acting deputy secretary Michelle Taumpson said sorcery accusationp-related violence is a very serious issue in many parts of PNG and the country needs to have preventative strategies in place.
Taumpson said churches are able to reach people in ways the Government agencies cannot and therefore it is important that we work with them to spread the same message.
“We know that there are civil society organisations and human rights defenders on the ground who are leading responses on this issue and we also know that churches have being working in their own way to provide support to those affected and to try and change people’s attitudes and beliefs on this matter,” she said.
“This strategy is powerful because it brings together over 20 different churches and enables a more coordinated, unified approach. The churches now speak with one voice which is a powerful thing.”
The plan took a year to complete with the support of the Australian government, CLRC, Department of Justice and Attorney-General and Department of Community Development.
The launch was made on the April 9 in Wabag after several regional workshops were held in Lae, Port Moresby and Mt Hagen for all denominations and the PNG Council of Churches to put their thoughts and discussions together to draft the national strategy.
The strategy has a priority focus of churches engagement within and between churches, with the community, Government and non-government organisations and is the first to be developed for PNG, Taumpson said.