23 Dec 2011

Papua New Guinea to toughen its Sorcery Act

6:10 pm on 23 December 2011

Papua New Guinea's members of parliament are being called on to repeal the Sorcery Act 1971 and produce tougher legislation aimed at curbing killings attributed to sorcery.

The Constitutional and Law Reform Commission this week made public a draft report on sorcery and sorcery related killings, including a recommendation for new laws.

The Post Courier newspaper says the Commission reported 75 people, accused of practising sorcery, were tortured and killed between the year 2000 and 2006.

The director of the church research body The Melanesian Institute, the Reverend Jack Urame, is a member of the Commission.

He says they recognise a need for stronger legislation to prevent unnecessary accusations and killings.

"Beside that, you know addressing the issue from the legal perspective, there is also a need to do a wider awareness so that people are aware, because this is definitely lack of knowledge that people try to address issues at their own level, trying to use sorcery and witchcraft as an excuse."