There is a need to establish a “Safe House” for victims of Sorcery Related Violence in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.
This is a concern raised by an advocate who has supported victims of sorcery related violence in the province.
Ms Karenge said there was a big need to have a safe house in the province to accommodate frightened mothers that run away from such threats and intimidation.
“It is not only the role of the Law and Justice sector only in helping them. It is everyone’s moral duty to protect their mothers and sister and to fight against Sorcery related issues,” she said.
Ms Karenge raised this concern earlier this week when the Catholic community in the Diocese of Mendi in Southern Highlands Province with members from other Churches joined in the First International Day against Witchcraft and Sorcery Accusation advocacy awareness on 10th August 2020 at Momei Oval.
The peaceful march and awareness had over 3000 participants who marched and chanted with placards, “Do not to kill innocent mothers, fathers and young women. Respect the dignity of persons, especially our mothers and sisters.”
A policeman in Mendi, Sgt Suaip in commemorating the day said, “Many women were hanged, tortured and killed in the remote villages of the province but relatives do not report to us in fear of retaliation, he said. More should be done to encourage women suspected of sorcery and their families, to come forward and report the abuse”.
Southern Highlands Province has recorded many cases of Sorcery Related Violence over the years with recently, three accused women in Tulum village of Karinz Local Level Government (LLG) in Mendi-Munihu District were strung-up, tortured by fire and were forced to take responsibility for the death of a young man.
Vicar general of the Mendi Diocese, Fr Pius Hal said that though there were only few cases reported, the grim reality was that many women still faced torture in the province, where some were even forced to leave their families and villages.
“In many areas of Southern Highlands, many think that there is no natural death and that every death must have a clear cause. Unfortunately, when this happens, the poor and defenseless are blamed for the death of a person,” he said.
He discouraged people from consulting witch doctors during times of pain and loss, especially during the death of a person, and urged for communities to seek an autopsy report of the deceased from medically qualified and trained doctors.
“When bush doctors are hired, they do not need proof to blame innocent and vulnerable people, and this is an act of Satanism. Doctors are trained and qualified for such matters and can provide medical proof to confirm the cause of death,” he stated.