Posted by: nativeiowan | June 5, 2013

don’ ya juz luv dem islands…

Fears sorcery-killings may be spreading from PNG

Radio Australia: MELANESIAN experts say sorcery-related attacks and killings are on the rise and spreading from Papua New Guinea into the rest of the Pacific.

A major conference tackling sorcery related killing is taking place in the Australian capital Canberra.

Experts say the number of killings is on the rise in Papua New Guinea, which has now repealed its sorcery laws that allowed sorcery as a defence to murder.

Lawrence Foana’ota from the Solomon Islands National Museum, says witchcraft and sorcery have been practiced in his country for years, but it is changing due to regional influences.

“There are other trends that are coming through other Melanesian countries, like Papua New Guinea, that are now happening in the Solomons – like pick-pocketing,” he said.

“[That] is something that they also learn form the neighbours, and I believe that might be the trend also in the sorcery practices.”

Foana’ota says the fear and instability caused by sorcery beliefs is holding back regional development.

The sorcery conference will hear that community breakdowns, personal grudges and Western culture are to blame for a resurgence in sorcery related killings in Papua New Guinea.

Reverend Jack Urame from the Melanesian Institute says Christian leaders can also do more.

“There is an alarming comeback of the belief, and I believe there are several factors why the belief is coming back again,” he said.

“Because there is a generation gap, the Christian values is not being passed on the next generation and so I think people are resorting back to the traditional belief as an answer to explain sickness and death.”

Papua New Guinea has defied international criticism to re-introduce the death penalty to tackle violent crimes including sorcery.

The United Nations and the European Union have criticised the move.

The United Nations says the re-introduction of capital punishment is major setback for Papua’s New Guinea’s standing in the international community.

European Union spokesman Michael Mann says the European Union wants PNG to reconsider executions.

“If you have killed someone, it is pretty irreversible,” he said.

“So we are very much against it and we realise there must be other ways to punish people for these crimes that do not involve the death penalty.”

A spokesman for Australia Foreign Minister Bob Carr says Australia is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.

He says Prime Minister Julia Gillard raised the law change during the her visit to PNG last month.

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