The dangers of defending a woman accused of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea |


Mary Kini of Highlands Human Rights Defenders Networks says:


Papua New Guinea human rights defender Mary Kinney.

© Spotlight Initiative/Rachel Donovan

Papua New Guinea human rights defender Mary Kinney.

personal expenses

For more than 14 years, she has worked in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to help victims of witchcraft-related and gender-based violence, despite the often high personal costs.

Ms. Kinney recently joined Eriko Fuferefa to fellow human rights advocates of the KAFE Urban Settler Women’s Association and bills for three-day counseling on the development of Angela Apa, human rights advocates’ protection of KUP Women for Peace in Mount Hagen.

“In so many years we have not been protected and some human rights defenders have died along the way,” said Ms. Fuferefa. “Some of them are being abused or tortured. We have so many bruises.”

Following the support of the Spotlight Initiative, political ownership of the issue of violence against women and children has grown. This was demonstrated in the country’s first special parliamentary investigation into gender-based violence, which made recommendations to Parliament and made notable legislative advances in this area. Violence related to sorcery.


Fellow educators distribute condom and SRH information at Kokopo market in Papua New Guinea.

© Spotlight Initiative/Rachel D

Fellow educators distribute condom and SRH information at Kokopo market in Papua New Guinea.

‘They just wanted to kill me’

Cases of magic accusation can be identified vary by region, but generally, when a person dies suddenly, the deceased’s family identifies who is responsible for the community (male) or Glasmeri (female) consults Glasman.

Dozens of women were tortured and murdered across PNG as a result of accusations against the magic of Glassman or Glassmary. Blame can be for both men and women, but most victims of violence are women.

“When my husband died, I took him to his village and there they started to suspect that I had killed him, so they cut my head off and planned to bury me with my dead husband,” one survivor explained. “It’s not true, they just wanted to kill me.”

“People have these norms and beliefs,” said Kini. “When Glasman or Glasmeri comes up to you and says something, people automatically respond to what they say.”


Human rights defender Furerepa Eriko, Women's Association of Settlers in the Coffee City of Goroka, Eastern Papua New Guinea

© Spotlight Initiative/Rachel Donovan

Human rights defender Furerepa Eriko, Women’s Association of Settlers in the Coffee City of Goroka, Eastern Papua New Guinea

long time change

Amendments to the Criminal Code make it illegal to use, attempt to use, or threaten to use the Services. Penalties include imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines of up to 10,000 PGK.

In 2021, the Spotlight on Submission to Special Congressional Inquiries (co-chaired by Yang Kinney) would include an objection to social norms addressing government review policies and allowing magic-related violence to be recommended by a reference group of civil society (co-chaired by Yang Kinney) the use of glasman and glasmeri .

“This is very important, and I’m really happy that this has passed because this is something we’ve been asking for, for a long, long time,” concluded Mr. Kinney.



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Author: bm4ey

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