17 Feb 2009

Amnesty International says police inaction over sorcery totally unacceptable

4:39 pm on 17 February 2009

An Amnesty International researcher says supernatural belief is no excuse for people in Papua New Guinea to kill those they accuse of sorcery, or for the police to fail to act against such crime.

Apolosi Bose is calling on the government, police and judiciary in the country to do more to stop a surge in sorcery-related murders, which has resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people in the last year.

Mr Bose says some police officers in Papua New Guinea have a belief in the supernatural and are afraid to stand up to sorcerers and those who accuse people of sorcery.

But he says they must do their job professionally.

"We are saying that is totally unacceptable, police officers are there to protect people to ensure that crimes are not committed or if someone perpetrates a crime that person should be taken to task according to the law."

Apolosi Bose says the police need more staff and training to investigate sorcery related killings, which make up more than half the murders in the country.