5 Jun 2013

UN, EU condemn PNG death penalty

7:04 am on 5 June 2013

The United Nations and European Union have spoken out against Papua New Guinea's decision to re-introduce the death penalty for violent crimes, viewing it as a major setback for the country's human rights standing in the international community

Parliament last week resurrected the long-dormant death penalty and approved five methods of execution: hanging, firing squad, electrocution, lethal injection and asphyxiation.

Parliament also repealed the nation's controversial Sorcery Act, under which accusations of sorcery were used as a defence for murder.

The European Union's High Representative, Catherine Ashton, says she regrets the government's decision to implement the death penalty; however she welcomed the repeal of the Sorcery Act at the government endeavours to fight rising crime.

Amnesty International and the PNG arm of the Catholic Church have also condemned the death penalty.

It has been 59 years since PNG's last execution in 1954.