8 Mar 2013

PNG government urged to work hard against gender discrimination

7:06 pm on 8 March 2013

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the Papua New Guinea government to work hard to eliminate underlying attitudes that discriminate against females.

Navi Pillay has issued a statement condemning the death of a woman in PNG's Highlands last month when she was stripped naked and tortured until she confessed to practising sorcery, then burned alive in front of a crowd of hundreds.

Ms Pillay notes the subsequent public outrage over the killing and the attention that it has drawn to sorcery related violence in PNG

PNG's Constitutional and Law Reform Commission estimates that as many as 150 people accused of sorcery - mostly women - are murdered every year in one of the country's 20 provinces.

Two alleged perpetrators of the killing have been arrested.

However the Commissioner says it is important that attention to this issue does not fade, and that serious and sustained efforts are made by authorities and police to prevent discrimination against females.