MP: Sorcery needs holistic action

Papua New Guinea Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven. Picture: PNG Parliament

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven says the problem of sorcery and witchcraft accusation related violence cannot be solved solely at the legislative level but through a holistic approach.

Steven was speaking in Parliament on the implementation of a national action plan against sorcery and witchcraft accusation-related violence that was approved by Cabinet for implementation in 2015. He said the approach led to national conversations hosted by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) and the consultative implementation and monitoring council (CIMC) in 2015.

A comprehensive national action plan was developed, Steven said.

He said the action plan along with proposed coordinating mechanisms for preventing violence was sent to the National Executive Council (NEC) .

Cabinet committed K3 million for the plan’s implementation.

“I am happy to announce that funding was made available in this year’s budget and based on the availability of funding, my department will commence the co-ordination and implementation of the national action plan,” Steven said.

He said the government had responded to the increasing number of deaths of women accused of sorcery and witchcraft by repealing the Sorcery Act 1971 and inserting a new provision into the Criminal Code Act 1974 (Chapter 262) which made murder, on account of a sorcery or witchcraft accusation, a capital offence.

Steven acknowledged the work of former Minister for Justice and Attorney-General and Sinasina-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua and Rabaul MP and former minister for Justice and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat for their efforts to address the problem.

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