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  • Jessica Oata

Protect and respect human life

Gordons, Port Moresby: The Catholic Church of Papua New Guinea has made a stern call to protect and respect the dignity and sacredness of all human life.

The call was made at a press conference held at the Catholic Bishops Conference on Tuesday 11th January in light of a video of women being tortured after being accused of practising sorcery went viral on social media.

Representing the Catholic Church in the panel of speakers were his Eminence Cardinal Sir John Ribat MSC and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Wabag Justin Soongie.

Giving his reflection on human rights and personal dignity, Cardinal Ribat said that every human being is entitled to the fundamental right to Life and this right should not be abused or lost at any cost through barbaric actions.

“Sorcery Accusation Related Violence causes disharmony in our communities and this is not the Spirit of God at work, it is the work of the devil as it does not promote and respect the dignity of life and destroys the peace and unity within our communities”, he said.

Cardinal Ribat encouraged all Christians, especially the Catholic faithfuls to have faith in God as he is the source of all goodness and life and urged them not to use sorcery to take away or harm human life.

Concluding his talk, the Cardinal made an appeal to the Government to support the Police force with logistics so that they can be physically present in concerned communities to prevent SARV, other churches be united and work in partnership with various organizations and stop SARV in the communities and the people respect and promote the dignity of life.

Sharing the same sentiments while giving his local perspective on SARV, Bishop Soongie said that the missing link to addressing SARV is ‘leadership’.

“It is difficult to tackle this issue if there is no leadership within the communities because perpetrators are still being harboured after they torture vulnerable members of the community and no one is taking the lead in standing up against this issue”, he said.

Bp Soongie also shared the harsh reality of response to save victims when they are being accused and tortured mostly due to geographical factors but very often because of poor coordination and preparedness or lack of resources at the provincial level.

“Help often arrives very late after victims have already been gruesomely tortured and this is very sad”, he said.

The media conference also saw Reverend Roger Joseph, General Secretary of the PNG Council of Churches and Mrs. Bernadette Ove, Representative of the Lasallian Women of Hope as speakers supporting the call.


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