Church in PNG speaks out against death penalty

The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea has voiced its opposition to government moves to implement the death penalty.

Catholic Archbishop of Port Moresby, John Ribat, flanked by the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in PNG and Solomon Islands Fr Victor Roche, announced the church’s position at a press conference in Port Moresby on Wednesday 1 May.

Archbishop Ribat said he acknowledged the immense pressure on the Government to curb law and order problems and its moves to introduce maximum penalties to crack down on the country’s serious law and order problems.

Speaking on behalf of the other churches, he said the church would live by its principles.

“No life will be taken. We do not have the right to do that but we do have the right to better a person’s life,” the Archbishop said.

Papua New Guinea’s government is considering backing the death penalty in a bid to deter crimes against women and “sorcery”-related killings.

On the same day Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said that legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumes in two weeks that would allow the country to implement the death penalty.

“Among the methods discussed include death by firing squad, which was considered more humane and inexpensive than other methods,” O’Neill said in a statement following a Cabinet meeting Wednesday. He said an “execution center” would be attached to a new prison to be built in a remote location.

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