Meeting highlights SNAP update

The Government’s National Core Committee led by the Department of Justice and Attorney General held its 3rd meeting today in Port Moresby.

The aim of the meeting is to provide updates on the activities they have conducted in implementing the National Action Plan to Address Sorcery and Witchcraft Related Violence.

The National Core Committee comprises of government and non-government agencies and churches.

The department of Justice and Attorney General noted in today’s meeting that a lot of work has been done by implementing partners from Human Rights Defenders, Police Officers to Church elders helping survivors and conducting advocacy and research.

A significant achievement since the last meeting is the rolling out of the Family Protection Act training, with service providers across 5 provinces and 170 key referral pathways personnel on how to obtain family protection orders from the court.

“In the last month or two we’ve been doing all the regional training workshops and next we’ll be working on supporting the village courts and training them on how to issue interim protection orders. That will hopefully assist in some ways of deterrent of violence at the community level” DJAG’s Lawyer Serena Sasingian told the committee.

Meantime, the NGO’s and churches reported that Human Rights defenders continue to be at risk when assisting survivors, community’s lack of assistance to ensure the prosecution of perpetrators and witnesses, and the lack of willingness to testify are amongst the many challenges that are yet to be overcome.

 “We are carrying the full brunt of this with churches…..the government has 3 different offices and they need to coordinate that…they have no excuse now because they have the money” said Ruth Kissam Deputy Director of PNG Tribal Foundation.

Justice and Attorney General Department Secretary, Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, said NEC is yet to give DJAG the K3 million it had promised, therefore the department has had to rely solely on donor funding to implement activities within the action plan.

Secretary Kalinoe guaranteed the department will continue its efforts to curb sorcery related violence and appealed to stakeholders for their support towards making the action plan work.

Carolyn Ure