Papua New Guinea
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Ignorance bliss on sorcery violence

BY PHOEBE GWANGILO AND MIRIAM ZARRIGA

A mother of five Lorna Nico is now another statistic in sorcery accusation deaths as more women quietly accept the fate that has been dealt out by their own village.

And it doesn’t help that the law that has been declared by the Police to deal with such cases under “domestic terrorism” has not been brought to parliament.

A senior police officer when asked on arrests made, was unable to give statistics on arrests as there had been no data provided to them on the arrests of perpetrators.

Another worrying trend is the low percentage of prosecution for perpetrators of Sorcery Accusation Related Violence and Gender-Based Violence .

This has concerned the Secretary for Department of Community Development and Religion Jerry Ubase.

“That is a concern which police and Department of Justice and Attorney General can respond to that,” he told Post-Courier when asked on what he had done in addressing the GBV and SARV.

“We are not implementers, we cannot go down to deal with the survivors and perpetrators of Sorcery Accusation Related Violence.

“We can come up with policies but at the end of the day, prosecution must happen,” he said.

He said allowing perpetrators to face the full brunt of law will send a strong message across to other men and boys who are most likely to perpetrate the offense to refrain from it.

He said the Department of Community Development and Religion is only responsible for developing polices and funding partners providing service which it had been able to do so following the funding allocation of K7.9 million by the government in 2021.

With that, he said a total of K2.4 million support grant was given to 13 safe-houses or community-based organisation to equip them in their response and prevention programs.

“For me as a policy maker, we do policy and disburse grants to support the work of our partners in the province,” Mr Ubase said.

Acting Prime Minister John Rosso said, “”I am deeply saddened and angry to learn of the tragic and senseless killing of Lorna Nico, 39 from Sohe in Northern Province who was married and lived in Bulolo District, Morobe Province.”

”I want to make it unequivocally clear that I, on behalf of the government and the people of Papua New Guinea, condemn this heinous act in the strongest possible


terms.

“We mourn the loss of a fellow citizen, a mother, a sister and a daughter, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Lorna’s family, her children and loved ones during this difficult time,”


Mr Rosso said.