PNG has more work to be done to tackle the high violence caused against the practice of sorcery in communities.
The approach taken must be vibrant and needs a collective effort from all stakeholders, with much responsibility on government departments.
This was the emphasis during the development of the National Sorcery and Witchcraft Accusation Violence draft Action Plan in Port Moresby today.
Today’s meeting was more to compile more detail to draft the implementation strategy of the action plan. Focused groups included Advocacy and Communication, Legal, Medical, Care & Counselling, Protection and Research.
More was stressed on the legal component of dealing with sorcery allegations.
Again, the Sorcery Act of 1971 was given a push to be reviewed, and make proper awareness on the consequences of violence relating to sorcery.
However, participants believe the government should look into the welfare of Village Court Officials, as they will be the frontline to deal with sorcery cases.
Morobe Provincial Assembly Member, Nellie McLay, called upon the Justice Department, Community Development, Police, and other relevant authorities to stop working in isolation, and bring PNG out of its sorcery problems.
Director PNG Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker says, the draft action plan is a key intervention, and must be seriously addressed from the village level upwards.
The participants also raised concerns on the media publicity of sorcery stories, stating more care should be taken not to promote or instigate public outburst, but put perpetrators as the subject.
The draft Action Plan will be put together for the government to review and push through the next parliament session.
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