New Draft National Action Plan to Address Sorcery Accusation–Related Violence in Papua New Guinea
In 2013, widespread publicity given to the deaths of two women accused of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea (PNG) drew international and national attention to the problem of sorcery and witchcraft accusation–related violence. In the face of mounting pressure to take action, including the national haus krai protest calling for an end to violence against women, the government responded by repealing the Sorcery Act 1971 and creating a new provision in the Criminal Code Act 1974 (Chapter 262). Section 229A of the Criminal Code Act provides that any person who intentionally kills another person on account of an accusation of sorcery is guilty of wilful murder, for which the penalty is death. However, there is growing recognition, both within the government and the wider community, that these problems cannot be solved solely at a legislative level, and must rather involve a holistic response. This In Brief outlines the substance of, and steps leading to, a draft national action plan that was developed in June 2014 to provide a concrete foundation for this holistic response.