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Accepted Paper:

My words have power: The role of Yuri women in peace-building and addressing sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea  
Bomai Witne (Queensland University of Technolgy) Verena Thomas (Queensland University of Technology) Jackie Kauli (Queensland University of Technology) Christina Spurgeon (Queensland University of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the role of women in peacebuilding and addressing sorcery accusation related violence (SARV) using a case study of the Yuri tribe in Papua New Guinea. We highlight the way women combine Christian and indigenous Yuri knowledge and the implications for SARV National Action Plan.

Paper long abstract:

Sorcery accusation related violence (SARV) is a particular form of violence that is linked to the belief that illness and deaths are caused by persons with supernatural powers. Contemporary manifestations of SARV in Papua New Guinea (PNG) present an increasing challenge to the government who established the SARV National Action Plan.

In the highlands of PNG, SARV affects mostly women who often experience horrific violence. Women-led and community-led organisations have been active in addressing SARV at the community level. They have addressed the larger community conflicts, including tribal warfare, while promoting indigenous values of unity and community resilience. One of such organisations is YAKA, established by the Yuri tribe in the Simbu province.

This paper discusses findings from 26 participants of qualitative interviews and 14 participants of kapori (storytelling) and photovoice, representing the thirteen clans of Yuri tribe and seven Christian churches. The analysis focuses on the role of women in community-led initiatives in the context of PNG and their role in promoting peace building to address SARV.

The Yuri women combine Christian and Yuri knowledge, beliefs and values of care and empathy to address SARV, navigating their multiple roles within Yuri society. We discuss the challenges and opportunities for YAKA as a community-led initiative to inform the SARV National Action Plan and how strategies can recognise the crucial roles that women play in maintaining community cohesion.

Panel P45b
Peacebuilding from below – the role of women groups and civil society in conflict resolution II
  Session 1 Tuesday 29 June, 2021, -