By Staff Reporter : PNG Today
Sorcery related violence especially against our PNG women has increased exponentially leaving scars on the accused and those human rights defenders who try to help them.
This was highlighted and documented in the film “Stop Sorcery Violence” which depicted the true horror of modern-day witch-hunts at the 7th PNG Human Rights Film Festival 2016.
This was then followed by a panel discussion on the way forward and how Sorcery Related Violence can be addressed in our communities.
Secretary of the Commission for Social Concerns Researcher Anthropologist, Father Philip Gibbs who has been in the country for 41 years says the mentality of brutality is ingrained in our mindsets and it’s the abuse of our women who are accused of sorcery which is of concern.
“In past especially in the Highlands culture when someone is accused of sorcery, the individual is just thrown off a cliff or thrown into the river, but now it has gone to another level, with the torturing, burning the flesh with metal rods heated over the fire or inflicting cuts on the suspected sorcerer’s skin.” said Father Gibbs.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with NGO’s such as Oxfam International and others helping in the name of human rights.
Human Rights defenders, who tirelessly put themselves at risk by advocating and also saving and relocating those accused of sorcery out of harm’s way, these heroes have a network set up and go to the aid of those ones with the assistance of Police.
“To be brutal and violent is ingrained in the mentality, and by working past these human tendencies and educating our people on squashing these myths or legends that they believe in is what we are striving to do.” said Father Gibbs. PNGFM/PNGToday