Jo Chandler; 8/9/09
Mary Kini, Agnes Sil and Angela Apa – three women divided by tribal law but connected by loss – had never heard of human rights when they began a social revolution. But they knew all about human wrongs. They were all grieving family killed in 30 years of tribal wars that had engulfed their district of Kup in Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea. Tribal fighting has gone on through history in the highlands but in the past decade guns have replaced bows and arrows, and it has grown bloodier. No one can guess at how many people die in these conflicts across PNG. In one fight in Kup in 1999, 11 people were killed in six months. But to get some sense of the broader scale, a study of village courts in Enga province indicated more than 1500 deaths in five years to 2006. But the toll can’t be counted in casualties alone.