An article posted to the Islands Business web site is worth a look. Islands Business International is a multimedia publishing company based in Suva, Fiji, and is the premier publishing group in the Pacific Islands region. Fiji is justly concerned that a fellow member country of the Pacific Islands Forum has a problem with people being murdered for witchcraft in 2013.
The surge in sorcery and witchcraft related murders in Papua New Guinea has drawn condemnation widely from international groups such as the United Nations and Amnesty International. A growing culture of insecurity and fear has been blamed for the unrest, and there are concerns it will impact on the country’s economic development in the long term. And why not? Who wants to do business in a country where people are being slaughtered as witches?
Women’s rights groups are also up in arms at the disproportionate number of women being targeted. Women in Papua New Guinea are six times more likely than men to be subjected to sorcery-related violence. Pressure is now being brought to bear upon the PNG government to take action against those who are justifying the killing of innocent people through sorcery accusations. Moves to repeal PNG’s absurd Sorcery Act, enacted in 1971 while PNG was still a colony, have been made. This comes after a number of women accused of sorcery and witchcraft were murdered in recent months.
In February, the world was shocked when graphic photographs circulated on the internet of a 20-year old mother, Kepari Leniata, being burnt alive in Mt Hagen in Papua New Guinea’s northern highlands.