Indian Catholic News

PNG bishop calls for end to witch hunts, violence against women

Such 'barbaric' acts often driven by motives of revenge or greed.

Indigenous Papuans performing a traditional dance.
Papua New Guinea: 

A bishop in Papua New Guinea has condemned the witch hunts which take place in the country, where many residents believe in sorcery and those accused of practicing it — mostly women — are attacked and murdered by mobs.

“I encourage all our citizens not to get into this bad habit of accusing innocent and defenseless people of sorcery, resulting in torturing and killing,” Bishop Arnold Orowae of Wabag, capital of Enga province in Papua New Guinea's highlands, said in a December 9 statement.

“This is a moral evil that should not be practiced,” he added.

Nearly all of Papua New Guinea's population is Christian, and 27 percent is Catholic, yet many Papuan Christians integrate indigenous beliefs and practices into their religious life.

Some indigenous Papuans do not believe in misfortune and accidents, and attribute them to sorcery, while the accusation can also be used for revenge or envy.

Amnesty International reports that women are six times more likely to be accused of sorcery than are men.

Bishop Orowae said the accused are often women who are “vulnerable and defenseless, and people run around aimlessly taking pleasure in accusing, torturing, and even killing them”.

“In this age and time we cannot continue to act and behave like barbaric people who have no respect for life and who kill to protect their territories,” Bishop Orowae stated.

Source: Catholic News Agency

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