Monday, April 29, 2013

Alleged Witches Tortured in Papua New Guinea?

The April 6 edition of The Australian has a short article about Amnesty International's call for an investigation into allegations that six women were tortured in Papua New Guinea for being witches.  The alleged torture was said to be part of Easter "sacrifices," but has not been confirmed by police.  The article notes that weeks prior, a 20-year-old mother was burned alive by a mob who accused her of being a witch when her son died, and that in 2011 a man was reportedly discovered eating his newborn son during a sorcery ceremony.

An excellent first-hand journalistic investigation by Tim Elliott into the witchcraft phenomenon in Papua New Guinea appeared in the April 20 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.  The article discusses the complete lack of skepticism about  the prevalence of "sangumas" (witches) in PNG, with residents of the Highlands viewing them in an extremely negative light that often leads to mob violence and torture of those suspected of being sangumas.  I strongly recommend the article as it provides valuable context and insight into this disturbing issue.

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