POLYGAMY IS NOT JUST an anti-Christian practice and against the moral law, but it is also a social threat and this is why a law to prevent it is urgent, say Christian communities in Papua New Guinea.
With these arguments, Christian leaders in PNG are leading a campaign to outlaw polygamy.
Legislative action to ban polygamy was recently proposed by Eastern Highlands governor Julie Soso.
Thirty years ago, another political leader, Peter Peipul, had demanded the banning of polygamy, calling it "disgusting" and "unconstitutional."
Although, in recent years, the reform of family law and the prohibition of polygamy was discussed, the practice remains legal in PNG.
"In areas where polygamy is still practiced, there are increasing cases of women accused of the murder of another of the wives of their husbands,” explains Paul Harricknen, a Catholic lawyer and consultant to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Papua.
“Women's rights will always be trampled until polygamy remains in force. Every human being, male or female, has equal rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
Harricknen says the bishops want the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
"Usually polygamy is imposed on the first wives, who succumb due to their economic and social disadvantage, or simply choose to maintain their fidelity to marriage. It is a practice that causes chaos and abuse in society."
For this reason, Harricknen concludes, "polygamy is no longer suitable for Papua New Guinea."