Papua New Guinea to Impose Stricter Laws Against Sorcery-Related Deaths
Friday, February 13, 2009 4:00 PM

According to Cable News Network (CNN), Taipei Times, and Amnesty International USA, 50 people were brutally killed in the last year in the Kingdom of Papua New Guinea when neighbors accused the victims of practicing sorcery or witchcraft. The victims, mostly women and older men, were usually accused after a neighbor mysteriously died. CNN suggested that some victims were scapegoats for neighbors’ unwillingness to acknowledge HIV/AIDS as the real cause of the “mysterious” deaths. Others suggested that a few victims were accused of adultery or of passing on HIV/AIDS.

The Taipei Times reported that the kingdom’s Constitutional Review and Law Reform Commission chair, Joe Mek Teine, said that the government will impose stricter laws against defendants in these cases. But apprehending the perpetrators may be a bigger problem; Amnesty reported that police were unable to get past a crowd of armed neighbors to get victims’ bodies to an autopsy in the most recent incident on 8 February 2009.

For the full text of the CNN article, please click here.

For the full text of the Taipei Times article, please click here.

For the full text of the Amnesty International USA article, please click here.

Compiled from:

Saeed Ahmed, Cable News Network (CNN), Asia: Woman Suspected of Witchcraft Burned Alive (8 January 2009).

Associated Free Press, Taipei Times, Papua New Guinea to Crack Down on Killing of ‘Witches’ (13 January 2009).

Amnesty International USA, Press Release: Papua New Guinea: Authorities Must Act Now to Prevent More Witch Hunts (10 February 2009).