4 Jun 2013

Repeal of PNG sorcery act won't do much: academic

1:51 pm on 4 June 2013

An Australian academic says the Papua New Guinea government's decision to repeal the sorcery act won't do much to change the high rate of sorcery-related killings in the country.

Dr Richard Eves, from the Australian National University's State, Society and Governance programme, is convening a conference this week that hopes to find solutions to problems caused by the belief in sorcery.

Dr Eves says the beliefs are pervasive in PNG society and the issue is very complex to deal with.

He says while the government's recent actions may be a start, they will be very difficult to implement.

"Papua New Guinea has a lot of good laws and good policies on the statutes but getting the police and the legal facilities to address these issues is the main difficulty. A lot of these things are taking place in places that are very remote, they won't even know that the sorcery act's been repealed, the police rarely go there, they're very isolated and it's sort of a hidden epidemic in that sense."

Dr Richard Eves of the Australian National University