IB2017/7 Developing Community Laws to Address Sorcery and Witchcraft-Related Violence in Papua New Guinea

SSGM In Brief

Author/s (editor/s):

Richard Eves

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In Brief

Witchcraft and sorcery-related violence, the focus of much attention in recent years, is seemingly an intractable problem that is impossible to remedy (see Forsyth and Eves 2015). While such pessimism is not without justification, isolated examples of communities that are attempting to address this issue do exist and are worth considering for use in other areas where this kind of violence is a problem. Local responses to perceived acts of witchcraft and sorcery are sometimes led by vigilantes with the result that the accused are brutally tortured and killed (see Eves and Kelly-Hanku 2014). Local responses that try to eschew violence are likely to be informative to efforts to generate effective measures to end such violence. This In Brief examines some community responses to witchcraft and sorcery accusations in Chimbu Province and Jiwaka Province in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlands and suggests that there is a potential for these initiatives to be developed in other parts of PNG where this problem exists.

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