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Justice called for six-year-old accused of sorcery

By Stacey Yalo

She was just six years old, and was punished for something she knew nothing about.

Justice is the name of the daughter, of the late Laniata Kepara, who was falsely accused of, practicing sorcery in 2012 and burned to death in Mount Hagen.

There were no prosecutions of the known killers of Leniata and now, her daughter has survived the same lack of justice.

With the Joint efforts of Lutheran Missionary in Enga, Anton Lutz and Tribal Foundation, the girl was rescued last month and taken to safety where she is recovering from her wounds.

Tribal Foundation’s President, Garry Bustin, said horrific stories of sorcery accused killings and genderbased violence does not truly portray PNG.

As a result, Tribal foundation is also working closely with partners such as EMTV to air commercials in promoting PNG and at the same time, advocating on change of behavior in relation to Gender Based Violence and sorcery accusations.

Sorcery Related Violence in PNG through its ‘Senisim Pasin Campaign’.

While efforts are being made to rescue sorcery related violence victims in Enga Province, there are more shocking stories from other provinces in the Highlands, and mainly in the Momase Region and the AROB.

Director of Tribal Foundation’s operations, Ruth Kissam said they are not against people’s beliefs, but are against people’s belief that inflicts pain and or causes death to other vulnerable citizens.

Lutheran Missionary Lutz, who has helped a lot these victims, said the idea of Sanguma or sorcery is not real.

During the press conference, Mr. Lutz showed a raw footage he had collected from his work as a human rights defender. The video was shown off camera and displayed the horrifying tortures of women accused of sorcery in the highlands.

Secretary of Community Development, Anna Solomon said the situation in the country in relation to GBV and Accused Sorcery related violence has political attention.

An amount of K2million was allocated in the 2018 budget for Accused Sorcery Related Violence. She said the issue needs everyone’s corporation to address it.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Jelta Wong, told the media that government has issued a directive for an immediate unit to be established specifically for Sorcery Accused Violence Victims in the country.

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