Papua New Guinea Incident Result To Concerns By UN Rights Body
The case of a woman who was burned alive in Papua New Guinea due to witchcraft accusations resulted to concerns being raised by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Reports indicated that a twenty-year-old woman, Kepari Leniata, was stripped and tortured before fuel was splashed on her in Mount Hagen. She was later set alight on a heap of trash in front of a crowd that included children. She was reportedly burned by villagers who said that she used sorcery that resulted to the death of a boy aged six years old.
The police were not able to stop the incident since they were outnumbered by the crowd.
A spokeswoman for the UN rights body, Cecile Pouilly indicated that the rights body is deeply concerned with the case since it adds to an increasing number of attacks and killings of people who are accused of supposedly practicing witchcraft in Papua New Guinea.
The UN agency requested authorities to educate people to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future. It also asked for protection for people who are accused of practicing witchcraft.
Ms. Pouilly added that the agency is encouraging authorities to strengthen the legal process that will prevent killings like these. Appropriate medical and psycho-social treatment should be offered by the authorities for victims of such incidents.
Many people in Papua New Guinea still believe in witchcraft as they find it hard to accept natural causes as the reason for accidents, misfortune, illnesses, and deaths.
Another woman was also killed in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea in 2009 due to accusations that she also practiced witchcraft.