PNG Bishops say Government ignored public debate on death penalty

Catholic Bishops have accused the PNG Government of ignoring the public debate on the death penalty and fast tracking their own agenda.

Archbishop Douglas Young of Mt. Hagen said that while the Attorney General had noted that there had been widespread debate in the public forum he did not say who had won the debate.

He noted that discussion in the media, the social media, and in other open forums was informative, addressing the main issues that have been covered in other nations.

Young said, “There have also been unsavoury aspects to this debate, such as the speculation on the best way to kill someone.

“The one thing missing from the debate was any evidence whatsoever that the death penalty will deter violent crime,” he said.

Fr.Victor Roche, the general secretary of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, said, “It is indeed a sad day for the country when the Parliamentarians decided to give the death penalty for its own citizens. We do agree that the leaders want to put a stop to merciless killing of innocent people especially of rape, sorcery and murder. It is true that the people of this country also want the law and order situation to be brought under control. But Death Penalty is not the solution.”

Roche gave three reasons why the Catholic Church does not support the death penalty:

1. It is against the Bible and Christian principles

2. The death penalty has not decreased the crime rate in those countries where it is carried out.

3. Who is going to execute the convicted criminals in PNG?

“We welcome the idea of higher penalties for abduction, murder, misuse of funds over K5 million etc. The Parliamentarians are giving the signal to the offenders that the governement is serious about bringing down crime and corruption in the country,” said Roche.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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