|One step forward, giant step backwards
<<Full Name>>, late on Tuesday night the Government in Papua New Guinea (PNG) responded to the global outcry over recent sorcery-related violence by repealing the controversial Sorcery Act (which provided a defence for violent crime if the accused was acting to stop ‘witchcraft’).1
This is good news and a great victory for women’s rights activists in the Pacific.
Sadly in the same session the Government passed new laws expanding the use of the death penalty to a wider set of crimes, and signalling a move towards resuming executions.
Tell PNG not to resume executions and to repeal the death penalty immediately
This is an horrific and regressive step and raises the chilling prospect of state-sanctioned killing in our region for the first time in over 30 years.
“Papua New Guinea has taken one step forward in protecting women from violence by repealing the Sorcery Act, but several giant steps back by moving closer to executions,” Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia-Pacific
Government out of touch and out of step
Although the death penalty already existed in law in Papua New Guinea, there had been no executions there since the country’s independence in 1954.
More than two-thirds of all countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The last known execution to take place in the Pacific region was in 1982 in Tonga. In the Pacific, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga are abolitionist in practice, while Fiji has only retained the death penalty for military crimes. This has meant that for many years the Pacific has been the world’s only death-penalty free region. Until now!
Your voice counts
When a woman accused of sorcery and her two daughters had been captured in Bougainville recently by villagers and were in grave danger, it was your voice that ensured police provided her with protection. 2
PNG listened last time, they must listen again. Add your voice to ours today and tell PNG that the death penalty is not the answer.
Amnesty International considers the death penalty to be the ultimate denial of human rights, and opposes it in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.
Please take action now and help us move towards a death penalty free world
Amnesty International Pacific Researcher
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