A Papua New Guinean woman says she has seen HIV-positive people being buried alive in the country's highlands.
The HIV-infected woman claims she witnessed other infected people being buried alive by their relatives when they became too ill to care for.
Our PNG correspondent Steve Marshall reports Margaret Marabe has spent several months carrying out HIV awareness campaigns in PNG's remote Southern Highlands province.
She says she saw five HIV-infected people buried alive by their relatives because they could no longer care for them.
"They were crying and calling out their relatives' names and called for help. Some said 'Mama Papa' as they were forcefully buried and covered with soil." [...]
An account from the Herald Sun:
Margaret Marabe, who spent five months carrying out an AIDS awareness campaign in the remote Southern Highlands of the South Pacific nation, said she had seen five people buried alive.
One was calling out "Mama, Mama'' as the soil was shovelled over his head, said Ms Marabe, who works for a volunteer organisation called Igat Hope, Pidgin English for I've Got Hope.
"One of them was my cousin, who was buried alive,'' she said.
"I said, 'Why are they doing that?' And they said, 'If we let them live, stay in the same house, eat together and use or share utensils, we will contract the disease and we too might die'.''
Villagers had told her it was common for people to bury AIDS victims alive.
Ms Marabe appealed to the Government and aid agencies to ensure the HIV/AIDS awareness program in cities and towns was extended to the rural areas, where ignorance about the disease was widespread.
Women accused of being witches have been tortured and murdered by mobs holding them responsible for the apparently inexplicable deaths of young people stricken by the epidemic, officials and researchers say. [...]
If these terrible claims are true, at minimum, more basic HIV/AIDS education should be implemented in Papua New Guinea immediately, efforts made to protect people with HIV/AIDS in this country, punishment carried out against those committing crimes against AIDS patients and much more media coverage reporting on the abuses.