A prominent Papua New Guinea politician says the law should be changed to make it harder for sudden deaths to be blamed on sorcery.

Malakai Tabar, from the Melanesian Liberal Party, is a member of the country's Law Reform Commission.

He told Radio Australia's the recent burning to death of a woman in Mt Hagen on suspicion of causing a boy's death by witchcraft has embarrassed the entire nation.

"This is the first one that was ever published in the front page of a newspaper but there has been cases like this in Goroka, in Lae, in Chimbu and yes, it has been happening," Mr Tabar said.

"We need to have something in law so that people understand this process and people try as much as possible to adhere to the law in relation to any deaths."

Causes of death

The PNG MP says while laws can't affect people's beliefs in sorcery, post mortems would make it harder to blame sorcery when a person dies without explanation.

"The problem is that the person falls dead there should be a process this person needs to be brought to the hospital and a post mortem be conducted.

"The relatives of (the deceased) needs to be told this person has died of high blood pressure, that sort of thing, heart attack...he was never killed, he was never poisoned, it's not sorcery."

Earlier this month a 20-year-old woman was , the third-largest city in Papua New Guinea.

Police arrested about 100 people at a squatter settlement last week and took them in for questioning.

A man and a woman have been charged with murder.

Witchcraft is a widespread belief in the Pacific nation and many people do not accept natural causes as an explanation for misfortune and death.

 

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