9 Dec 2013

PNG reputation threatened by sorcery violence: academic

8:26 am on 9 December 2013

One of the organisers of a conference on sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea says a lack of action is damaging the government's reputation.

Last week's three-day meeting in Goroka looked at the underlying causes of a growing number of attacks and murders, including people's frustration over a lack of basic services.

A senior research fellow with Australia National University's State Society and Governance in Melanesia Programme, Richard Eves, says the government needs to address the development issues behind the violence.

He says that means sitting down and talking to people in a serious way.

"The reported cases are really actually the tip of the iceberg and I think there's a lot that's gone on out in the communities that isn't reported. It really is doing profound reputational damage to the government of Papua New Guinea if they refuse to actually deal with this issue in a serious manner."

Richard Eves says quick policy such as the death penalty will not solve the problem.