28 Feb 2014

UN official to investigate unlawful killings in PNG

5:03 pm on 28 February 2014

The United Nations is sending an expert on arbitrary executions to assess the protection of the right to life in Papua New Guinea.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, is to visit for the first two weeks of March and assess protections for the right to life in both law and practice.

He says he will examine the level of unlawful killings and death threats in PNG and efforts to prevent them and to ensure justice and accountability.

Mr Heyns says he will also analyse the death penalty issue.

PNG's death penalty laws had lain dormant for many years but last year the government announced it would re-activate it.

It came amid widespread international criticism of PNG's failure to stop sorcery killings for which the perpetrators usually escape conviction.

Mr Heyns will visit Port Moresby, Buka, Goroka, Kundiawa and Lae to meet with government officials, NGOs, international agencies and others.