Almost 50 leaders from 14 denominations in the Momase region have contributed to the development of a national church strategy to tackle sorcery accusation-related violence following a workshop in Lae by the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC).
CLRC Secretary Dr Eric Kwa has condemned sorcery accusation-related violence, saying it is usually directed against isolated and vulnerable people in the community, particularly women.
Dr Kwa said the three-day workshop was the first of a series of regional consultations to be held around the country to aid the development of a National Churches Strategic Plan on Sorcery Beliefs and Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence.
The National Churches Strategic Plan is a key component of the Sorcery National Action Plan (SNAP), which aims to break the link between accusations of sorcery and violence.
Addressing the meeting, Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Andrew Egan said churches had a crucial role in reducing and eventually eliminating the incidence of sorcery accusation-related attacks.
“Because of their deep roots in the community and their strong connection with people in their everyday lives, churches are in a unique position to help address sorcery accusation related violence,” Egan said.
“Churches speak with a strong voice, and the messages they convey will be heard, that is why they are an important partner in helping reduce and eliminate such violence.”
The National Churches Strategic Plan is being developed to help ensure churches act and speak against sorcery accusation-related violence in a consistent and coordinated way.
The workshop was organised by the CLRC with support from the Department for Community Development and Religion, the PNG Council of Churches and the Australian Government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program.
(Church leaders discuss sorcery accusation-related violence in their province at the recent workshop)