A key dialogue to review the National Action Plan for Sorcery Related Violence has concluded with calls for strengthened collaboration in Papua New Guinea.
Dialogue to address Sorcery-related violence
June 30, 2022
An urgent dialogue to review the National Action Plan to address Sorcery Related Violence calls for the need for more urgent action on preventative actions, as opposed to reactionary responses to injustice in Papua New Guinea.
The dialogue revealed that strengthened collaboration and preventative action is a more cost effective and efficient way to address Sorcery Related Violence (SARV) and other forms of violence.
The three-day meeting - organized by the United Nations through the Global Spotlight Initiative with support from the European Union - brought together the Departments of Justice and Attorney General, and Community Development and Religion, with 60 key stakeholders from government, development partners, civil society organisations, human rights defenders and support services providers.
The event was officially opened by Attorney General Dr Eric Kwa, Secretary Jerry Ubase, together with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Mr Dirk Wagener and Dr Osbourne Liko, Secretary for Heath, to demonstrate solidarity and partnership against this horrific crime in the country.
“This once harmless belief has changed over time, into a growing humanitarian concern in Papua New Guinea,” said Mr Wagener, affirming UNDP’s commitment to this important work.
Dr Kwa said the Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) is currently working on the introduction of other laws that support access to justice related to SARV. This includes a bill for the protection of human rights defenders in the country.
“The problem is rife in communities and villages,” said Dr Kwa, “and the Department of Justice and Attorney General is looking to better skill and equip village courts magistrates to deal with violence and SARV.”
The Department of Justice and Attorney General is the key lead agency overseeing implementation of the SARV National Action Plan, together with the Department for Community Development and Religion leading the National GBV Strategy through the Secretariat. The DfCDR Secretary Jerry Ubase, said the government’s budget allocation of K7.93m will support survivors and training crisis response frontline workers.
The Health Secretary Dr Osbourne Liko stated the New National Health Plan should allow for integration of priorities to build partnerships with community services as well as with partners.
Speaking on behalf of 20 provincial Gender-based Violence focal points, Apelis Benson urged key government officers based in provinces to “take ownership of their role as key informants of society to ensure key government policy is made known to provinces and communities.”
“We are not going to introduce a policy that is going to clash with our society, we are Papua New Guineans who are going to lead this,” he said.
Human rights defender and Executive Manager for Voice of Change, Lily Be'soer urged CSO’s to continue to support service delivery and to be accountable and committed to work together with Provincial GBV focal points.
The Dialogue also provided an opportunity for UNDP to outline the process for small grants under the 2022 National Budget allocation on GBV to key SARV stakeholders and frontline service providers.
The ongoing implementation of the (2016-2025) SARV National Action Plan and the National Gender Based Violence Strategy is critical to a safe and prosperous future for Papua New Guinea.
“This once harmless belief has changed over time, into a growing humanitarian concern in Papua New Guinea,”UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener