sorcery

IB2017/31 Sorcery Accusation–Related Violence in Papua New Guinea Part 4: Trends over Time and Geographic Spread

Author/s (editor/s):

Miranda Forsyth, Judy Putt, Thierry Bouhours, Brigitte Bouho

Publication year:

2017

Publication type:

In Brief

This is the last In Brief in a four-part series that summarises key findings from an analysis of reports of sorcery accusation– related violence (SARV) in national newspaper articles and court cases over a 20-year period (1996–2016). The three previous In Briefs outlined the study and its methodology and highlighted key aspects of, and responses to, reported incidents of SARV. This In Brief presents trends across the 20 years that are apparent in levels of reported incidents, victimisation and arrests.

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IB2017/30 Sorcery Accusation–Related Violence in Papua New Guinea Part 3: State and Non-State Responses

Author/s (editor/s):

Miranda Forsyth, Judy Putt, Thierry Bouhours, Brigitte Bouho

Publication year:

2017

Publication type:

In Brief

This is the third In Brief of a four-part series on the findings from a quantitative analysis of media and case law relating to sorcery accusation–related violence (SARV) in Papua New Guinea during a 20-year period (1996–2016). As In Brief 2017/29 highlighted, often large groups of people were involved as perpetrators and witnesses. This In Brief concentrates on reported responses by the community and the state to specific incidents of SARV. Overall the analysis suggests both relative impunity for those who engage in SARV and a high degree of community complicity in the violence, indicated by the fact that in 59 per cent of cases no actions at all were reported as being taken by anyone to help or support the victim(s) in any way. More positively, since 2002 there is a clear ascending trend in the rates of attempted rescue and support of victims by police, villagers and churches reported in the media.

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IB2017/29 Sorcery Accusation–Related Violence in Papua New Guinea Part 2: Key Characteristics of Incidents, Victims and Perpetrators

Author/s (editor/s):

Miranda Forsyth, Judy Putt, Thierry Bouhours, Brigitte Bouho

Publication year:

2017

Publication type:

In Brief

It is extremely difficult to gauge the nature and extent of sorcery accusation–related violence (SARV) at a national level in any country. In part this is due to under-reporting and because official health and justice records do not typically monitor whether incidents are linked to sorcery accusations. Papua New Guinea poses particular challenges because of its language and cultural diversity, and poor reach and reliability of data collection in government services that respond to SARV. The vast majority of literature on SARV in Papua New Guinea is qualitative in nature, and most is localised, with very few quantitative studies.

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IB2017/28 Sorcery Accusation–Related Violence in Papua New Guinea Part 1: Questions and Methodology

Author/s (editor/s):

Miranda Forsyth, Judy Putt, Thierry Bouhours, Brigitte Bouho

Publication year:

2017

Publication type:

In Brief

This In Brief sets out the main research questions and summarises the methodology of a major study into sorcery accusation–related violence (SARV) in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The study began in November 2016 and will run for four years. Funded by the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership, the project is a partnership between academics at the Divine Word University and the National Research Institute in PNG and the Australian National University. Local researchers and data collectors are also playing a crucial role in gathering information and analysis.

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Researching sorcery accusation related violence in PNG

Sorcery accusation related violence is a significant concern across many parts of Papua New Guinea (PNG) today. It leads to death, torture, displacement of people and pervasive fear and insecurity.

Responses to and Issues Arising from Recent Cases of Sorcery Accusation Related Violence in PNG

Author/s (editor/s):

Forsyth, Miranda

Publication year:

2017

Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2869615

This paper details a number of recent networked actions that have led to positive directions in the fight against sorcery accusation related violence in PNG. It also identifies some common themes and issues arising from these responses to analyse current responses and identify potential future directions. There is a common narrative in PNG that cases of sorcery related violence are rising, and that this is despite hard work by a range of actors. There is currently no reliable data about whether or not the cases are actually on the rise overall or are just more visible today (as a result of Facebook, newspaper reports etc). Regardless of whether there is in fact an upwards trend in the numbers of cases, sorcery accusation related violence is currently a major problem in many parts of the country, particularly the Highlands and Bougainville. This makes it crucial to uncover and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness (or non-effectiveness) of the mechanisms that are being used to combat this type of violence. The Sorcery National Action Plan (“SNAP”) was passed by the National Executive Council in July 2015, together with funding of three million kina. Although the funding has not as yet been formally allocated, the SNAP is being actively implemented under the leadership of the Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG). An eighteen month implementation plan was developed and approved by the SNAP core committee in April 2016. A major part of the theory underlying the SNAP is that the best chance of success is in finding multiple ways to connect together the different sets of actors involved in combating sorcery accusation related violence. The diverse champions in this fight include relatives and neighbours of victims, police officers, church and community leaders, community activists and so on. It is imperative to find ways that such people can act with support from a broader network, comprised of both state and non-state, and ocal and national actors. There have been four incidents in the past few months that have demonstrated the benefits of the network building approach that underlies the SNAP. The accounts below are based mainly on newspaper reports, interviews conducted by Father Philip Gibbs, and preliminary fieldwork pending major fieldwork starting next year.

Cite the publication as

Forsyth, Miranda 2016. ‘Responses to and Issues Arising from Recent Cases of Sorcery Accusation Related Violence in PNG’ (November 15, 2016). RegNet Research Paper No. 2016/122, RegNet, Canberra

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Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet