Improving the impact of state and non-state interventions in overcoming sorcery accusation related violence in PNG

Newspaper clippings on sorcery accusation related violence

Project leader(s)

Sorcery accusation related violence is seen as a growing problem in PNG and has attracted domestic and international calls for an effective government response. It is implicated in a range of negative developmental outcomes, including economic disempowerment, poor health, insecurity, persecution, and violence including torture and murder. What’s more, these negative outcomes impact disproportionately upon women and most acutely affect women who lack male protection and are consequently more vulnerable to sorcery accusations.

In response to calls for action to deal with the problem of sorcery accusation related violence, both the PNG government and a broad range of civil society, faith based and international organisations have started to put into place legislative reforms, projects and programs, but there has been an over reliance from the government on the preventative and deterrent effects of the state criminal justice system.

To combat this, the Department of Justice, together with a range of partner organisations, have developed a Sorcery National Action Plan (“SNAP”) which sets out a comprehensive and holistic response to the problem. The SNAP provides for the development of training packages for a wide range of service providers and local community governance structures, but at present there is not sufficient research to identify what types of training is needed and what is likely to be effective.

This research project will support PNG partners to address sorcery accusation related violence by developing and communicating a body of evidence regarding which interventions break the link between sorcery and violence and how they can best be supported. The project will be heavily action-research focussed as it monitors and critiques the implementation of SNAP and its associated interventions.

Related publications

Please refer to the Resources tab for a list of Sorcery Project outputs.

Research outputs

Book chapter

Forsyth, M., Policing sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG, (2020).

Journal articles

Peake, G., and Forsyth, M., Street-level bureaucrats in a relational state: The case of Bougainville, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Policing in a relational state: the case of sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea, (2021).

Forsyth, M., and Gibbs, P., Causal stories and the role of worldviews in analysing responses to sorcery accusations and related violence, (2021).

Gibbs, P., Sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea, Christina - a case study, (2020). Report available in German here.

Gibbs, P. Witchcraft accusations and hybrid formulations in Papua New Guinea, (2020).

Gibbs, P., McKenna, K., and Yakam, L., Perception of the public on the law as a deterrent to sorcery accusation related violence, Madang Province, PNG, (2019).

Forsyth, M. and Gibbs, P., Contagion of violence: the role of narratives, worldviews, mechanisms of transmission and contagion entrepreneurs, (2019).

Forsyth, M., Activating the powers of law in the South Pacific, (2018).

Refereed discussion papers

Kipongi, W., Possible Ways to Address Challenges Associated with Reintegration of Survivors of Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence, (2022).

Forsyth, M., Gibbs, P., Kipongi, W., Losoncz, I., Sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea: The impact of SARV on children, (2021).

Gibbs, P., Kipongi, W., Lutz, A., Losoncz, I., Forsyth, M., and Hukula, F., Sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) in Enga Province.

Forsyth, M., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F., Kipongi, W., and Losoncz, I., Sorcery accusation related violence in PNG: The role of glasman/glasmeri as catalysts of accusation and violence, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F., Kipongi, W., and Losoncz, I., Sorcery accusation related violence in PNG: The impact of SARV on children, (forthcoming).

Forsyth, M., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F., Putt, J., Munau, L. and Losoncz, I., Ten preliminary findings concerning sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea, (2019).

Policy briefs

Forsyth, M., Gibbs, P. and Losoncz, I., Sorcery-accusation related violence in PNG: Characteristics of perpetrators and their accomplices, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Prosecution of sorcery accusation related violence in PNG: What more is required?, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Losoncz, I., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F. and Kipongi, W., Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence in PNG – Part 8: Responses to Prevent Sorcery Accusation Turning to Violence — Reporting from the SARV Incident Database, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Losoncz, I., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F. and Kipongi, W., Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG Part 7: The harm of SARV, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Losoncz, I., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F. and Kipongi, W., Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG Part 5: incidents and victims, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Losoncz,I., Gibbs, P., Hukula, F. and Kipongi, W., Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG Part 6: Catalysts of accusation and violence, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Putt, J., Bouhours, T. and Bouhours. B., Sorcery accusation-relation violence in PNG - Part 4: Trends over time, (2017-2018).

Forsyth, M., Putt, J., Bouhours, T. and Bouhours. B., Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG - Part 3: State and non-state responses, (2017-2018).

Forsyth, M., Putt, J., Bouhours, T. and Bouhours. B., Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG Part 2: Key characteristics of incidents, (2017-2018).

Forsyth, M., Putt, J., Bouhours, T. and Bouhours. B., Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG - Part 1: Questions and methodology, (2017-2018).

Forsyth, M., Early modern witchcraft trials – are there lessons for sorcery-accusation related violence today?, (2017-2018).

Working papers

Forsyth, M., Gibbs, P., Kipongi, W. and Losoncz, I., Sorcery Accusation Related Violence in Papua New Guinea: The Impact of SARV on Children, (2022)

Forsyth, M., Responses to and issues arising from recent cases of sorcery accusation related violence in PNG, (2017).

Reports and Submissions

Final report on Sorcery Accusation Related Violence (SARV), (15 November 2021)

PNG National Research Institute, Divine Word University & Australian National University, Submission on Ending Sorcery Accusation Related Violence (SARV), to Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV, (30 June 2021).

Includes Australian National University, Divine Word University as authors, amongst other organisations, The Covid-19 pandemic and harmful practices impacting persons with albinism: Accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks (‘HPAWR’), (2020).

Blog posts

Kipongi, W., PNG National Research Institute Releases Public Policy Blog No.22; Counselling is vital to healing and recovery of survivors of sorcery accusation, (2022)

Forsyth, M., Children as victims of sorcery accusation related violence in PNG, (2021).

Forsyth, M., Lutz, A., Justice for sorcery accusation related violence in PNG?, (2021).

Forsyth, M. and Gibbs, P., Worldview pluralism: part 1 – sorcery accusations, (2021).

Forsyth, M. and Gibbs, P., Worldview pluralism: part 2 – Covid-19 implications, (2021).

Hukula, F., Forsyth, M. and Gibbs, P., The importance of messaging for Covid-19. What can we learn from messaging against sorcery accusation related violence?(2020).

Hukula, F., Gender based violence in Papua New Guinea, (2020).

Hukula, F., Forsyth, M., and Gibbs, P., Witchcraft and human rights: global learnings and conversations, (2019).

Forsyth, M., Escaping sorcery accusations, (2018).

Forsyth, M. and Hukula, F., Challenges and strategies in conducting training and awareness on sorcery accusation-related violence: part one, (2018).

Forsyth, M. and Hukula, F., Challenges and strategies in conducting training and awareness on sorcery accusation-related violence: part two, (2018).

Forsyth, M. and Gibbs, P., International debates around witchcraft accusation based violence, (2017).

Forsyth, M. and Gibbs, P., Witchcraft accusation based violence gets international attention for the first time, (2017).

Newspaper and online articles

Forsyth, M., Sorcery-related violence should be thought of as profoundly modern, (2021).

Hukula, F., Addressing gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea, (2020).

Millar, C., Midena, D. and Forsyth, M., Can we learn from the past in tackling witchcraftrelated violence today?, (2018).

Presentations

Understanding SARV in Papua New Guinea - 14 September 2021

Podcasts

Understanding Sorcery Accusation Related Violence in Papua New Guinea by Miranda Forsyth with Griffith Asia Institute.

Other related publications

Peter and Grace Make a Difference: A Storybook on Sorcery Accusation Related Violence by Anton Lutz (2021), from Pacific women shaping pacific development website.

2021 International Conference on SARV: the Harm and the Healing

Please refer to the conference program here and the SARV Conference Panel links below:

Day 1 Panel 1 (Policing SARV)

Presentation by Nirmala Nair

Discussion after presentation by Nirmala Nair

Day 1 Panel 2 (SARV in the Village Courts)

Presentation by Carolyn Gent

Day 1 Panel 3: (Reintegration following SARV)

Presentation by Leo Igwe

Day 1 Panel 4: (Survivors’ experiences of SARV)

Day 2 recap of Day 1

Day 2 Panel 5

Presentation by Berrie Holzhausen

Day 2 Panel 6

Presentation by Ugne Grigaitė

Day 2 Panel 7 (Church Interventions)

Day 2 Panel 8

Presentation by Joerg Nowak

Day 2 Paul Wolframm

Day 2 Missio & Final Comments

Interpretation of sorcery accusation related violence survivor

Tackling witchcraft related human rights violations

21 September 2017

RegNet researcher Miranda Forsyth speaks at UN event about witchcraft-related violence in the Asia-Pacific.

Pages

Image: Associate Professor Miranda Forsyth (RegNet)

Professor Miranda Forsyth

Miranda Forsyth is an Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. Prior to coming to...

Felicity Tepper

Along with a background in environmental law and policy (domestic and international) and disaster management, Felicity has both depth and breadth of experience across the judicial, executive and...

Law, justice and human rights

RegNet is one of world’s leading centres for socio-legal research. This cluster aims to lead the development of transformative ideas in the fields of criminology and restorative justice; human rights and international law; legal pluralism; peacebuilding; the regulatory dimensions of international and domestic law; and rule of law.

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