Human Rights Defenders try to stop spreading of sorcery killings through Pacific

June 6, 2013

ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports on a conference held in Australia on a topic that sounds like it comes straight from the middle ages: sorcery.The conference concluded that there is an increase in sorcery-related attacks and killings in Papua New Guinea which may spread throughout the South Pacific. Its thought more than a hundred people a year suffer sorcery-related attacks in PNG. Hundreds of experts on sorcery have gathered in Canberra on 5 June 2013 for a major conference about the problem. In a published transcript one finds phrases such as:

Monica is a human right defender in PNG’s Central Highlands. She wont use her full name for fear of retribution. She was accused of killing her own father through sorcery”. MONICA: My brother came after me telling me that like I killed him by doing sorcery. And I couldnt believe, because my father, I lived my father. I turned around and said, What did you say to me? And he said you’re a witchcraft, you killed our father. KAREN BARLOW: Monica escaped violence and was made an outcast instead. MONICA: Whether ever I go they said, she killer her father, she killed her father. So like the stigmas follows with me every time I go around. KAREN BARLOW: Now she and her colleague Mary help others in a much worse states. Sorcerers and witches attack others and, fuelled by envy, suspicion and fear, accused sorcerers and witches are assaulted and their bodies defiled. All before a ready and willing crowd and. according to Mary, the spectators include children.MARY: They do nothing but they watch on, and this is something that you’ll hardly believe. But it’s happening in the community and no one is there to support.KAREN BARLOW: Young people are increasing involved and in PNG’s male-dominated society women are often the victims. Human rights defenders, like Mary, say victims are lucky to survive. MARY: There is so many struggles that we go through as human rights defenders. To be honest working on the ground in a situation where we have clients, they are helpless.We take time to go to visits them and we find ways and means to really help them out. But, we are down there. We have no authorities as human rights defenders, we are part of this human rights defenders movement, but we don’t have the power.

via Fears sorcery killings could spread through Pacific – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


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