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National Sorcery Workshop

The three day workshop (3-5 December) was the first in the country in which relevant stakeholders discussed concrete ways and approaches to overcome sorcery and witchcraft related violence in PNG. Discussions were around looking at existing sorcery and witchcraft related problems, exploring and identifying available interventions and finding how the issue can be addressed using local best practices

The focus of the workshop was to find a way forward and to develop a national multi sectoral response to address the very high rate of sorcery and witchcraft related accusations and killings.

Over 150 people from all sectors nationwide including academics, policymakers human right activists, donors, legal practitioners, church organisations and non-government organisations engaged in constructive dialogue to take a holistic approach to the issue during the conference.

The conference was facilitated by the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC) and the Department of Justice and Attorney General with support from development partners; AusAID, UN Women, the Melanesian Institute, the University of Goroka and State Society and Governance in Melanesia.

Presentations at the conference focused on mapping the cultural landscape and how sorcery is embedded within cultural belief and practice, the legal landscape including measures and laws that can possibly deal with sorcery and witchcraft related killings and local interventions to the violence spectrum in society.

Other presentations included response from the government looking at how law & justice and health agencies deal with perpetrators, the victims and survivors of sorcery and witchcraft related violence. This conference was a means to urgently address issues of sorcery and witchcraft violence which are embedded in traditional believe and are indigenous to parts of PNG with its roots in the traditional past, but the violence seen today is a modern phenomenon.

Discussions also included a wide range of initiatives by individuals and organisations that are making headway against this violence and the issue of sorcery and witchcraft violence impacting upon lives and the terrible consequences it has on individuals, families and communities.

Some participants included sorcerers, victims and survivors who highlighted their experiences and give their views and opinions to contribute to addressing this issue. The conference was supported by AusAID with a funding of K200, 000.00 and supported by the office of the Governor for Eastern Highlands Province, Hon Julie Soso with K1000.00.

Participants at the closing of the Goroka workshop

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