Posts by whrin_admin

Help Age International: Using the law to tackle accusations of witchcraft

HelpAge International and its partners have considerable experience of tackling
and reducing accusations of witchcraft and related violence against older women
and men though community based interventions. We do not, however, have the
same level of experience or expertise in the use of legislation in this area.
To address this gap, we requested, through the organisation Advocates for
International Development, pro bono guidance from lawyers on the use of
legislation to address accusations of witchcraft and related violence. Three law
firms offered to review relevant legislation in a total of nine countries: Burkina
Faso, Cameroon, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, South Africa and
Tanzania. We also asked the law firms to provide general guiding principles to
help inform our position on the use of the legislation in this area.
This report presents the main findings of the review and our position in relation to
the issues raised. It also presents a summary of key issues from the review in
each of the nine countries. See the full report here

Nepal: Government Proposes Bill to Criminalise Witchcraft Accusations

The proposed bill against witchcraft accusations would provide legal recourse for women who have experienced physical or mental harm as a consequence of witchcraft accusations and related cultural and superstitious practices by proposing jail terms of up to seven years and fines up to Nepali Rupees 70,000 (US$780). If a death occurs because of such an offence, then homicide-related laws stipulated in Nepal’s existing criminal code would be invoked. The bill also contains provisions that ensure interim relief and protection measures to the victims while legal proceedings take their course. The bill has a clear focus on victim protection mechanisms and guarantees state protection for the victim. Other features of the bill include third-party complaint mechanisms and an ordinance for ranking police officers to investigate complaints. Click here for more details.

AFRUCA – Africans Unite Against Child Abuse

AFRUCA – Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (UK) is an organisation concerned about cruelty against the African child. With their Head Office in London and a Centre for African Children and Families in Manchester, they are the premier charity promoting the welfare of African children in the UK. They also work in partnership with other organisations in Africa and across Europe. See here for more details.

International Conference on “Justice, Witchcraft and Violence” (Africa – Central Africa) – 27th – 30th November – Bangui, Central African Republic

This international symposium focuses on the judicial treatment of witchcraft in Africa since independence as an object of social science research. It is, moreover, under the auspices of human rights, to inform the political authorities of African countries and especially the Central African Republic, where it is organized, advanced knowledge of anthropological, sociological, legal confronted with experiences judges on the forms of social violence in the affairs of witchcraft. Instructions and procedures are still under the influence of beliefs and local customs. This symposium aims to compare the expert analysis of this issue from research conducted in several areas and countries of sub-Saharan Africa. For more details please click here

Tanzania: Witchcraft and the law in Tanzania – Simeon Mesaki

Witchcraft is a topical subject and an intriguing phenomenon in Africa. Thriving on belief systems it baffles and confronts ruling elites with dilemmas on how to deal with it. Tanzania experiences grim consequences by the entrenchment of witchcraft in the country including social exclusion, expulsion and even murder of alleged witches. The legal system copes inadequately with the challenges of witchcraft because it does not accept the reality of witchcraft and the colonial inherited law is a blunt instrument in dealing with the problem. This article charts the history of the law on witchcraft in Tanzania and concludes that witchcraft beliefs are too strong to be driven out by legal methods and instead advocates for the removal of ignorance by introducing a scientific view of the world through
[mass] education.

Please click here to see the paper.

Burundi: African albinos killed for body organs (2009)

Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndge meets albinos who live in hiding in fear of being murdered because of their condition. See film here

WHRIN Official (re) Launch to Come Soon

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UN: Violating children’s rights: harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion or superstition – International NGO Council on Violence against Children

Each year, thousands of children die worldwide and the childhoods and development of millions more are scarred by harmful practices perpetrated by parents, relatives, religious and community leaders and other adults.

The report illustrates a devastating failure of international and regional human rights mechanisms to provoke the necessary challenge to these practices and their effective prohibition and elimination in all regions. It marks a failure of political and community leadership to move parents, families and societies on from harmful practices
to cultures fully respectful of children’s rights. It marks a failure of religious leaders to insist that no form of violence against children can be justified in the name of religion and to highlight, as the Convention on the Rights of the Child does, children’s own right to freedom of religion.
This report builds on the key recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Study. It identifies a range
of international, regional and national bodies that need to work urgently and more visibly to end adults’ inexcusable justification of inhumanity to children.

Please click here to see report

Tanzania: Illness and Death Experiences in North-Western Tanzania: an Investigation of Discources, Practices, Beliefs and Social Outcomes, Especially Related to Witchcraft, Used in Critical Contextualisation and Education Process with Pentecostal Ministers

This research (1) by Steven Rasmussen for his PHD secured detailed information on discourses and practices during selected episodes involving illness and/or death in Northwestern Tanzania with particular attention to the beliefs involved, and to the social outcomes of these practices and (2) used this material as the basis for a carefully documented critical contextualization and education process in which ministers inductively grappled with the theological and pastoral issues which these cases represent.

Please click here ILLNESS AND DEATH EXPERIENCES IN NORTHWESTERN TANZANIA

UK: A rapid literature review of evidence on child abuse linked to faith or belief

October 2012: The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC), based at the Institute of Education, was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to conduct a small-scale review of previous research on ‘child abuse linked to faith or belief’. This will be used to help inform future policy in the area.The review set out to address the following questions:
Q1: What does the literature tell us about the incidence of abuse in the UK, and other selected countries where belief in witchcraft and related concepts is a factor?
Q2: What is known about the characteristics and context of child abuse linked to faith or belief in the UK and other selected countries?
Q3: What does the literature reveal about good practice and lessons to be learned for practitioners, agencies and
communities so as to reduce this type of child abuse in the UK in the future?
Q4: What are the gaps in the evidence base?

Download the report here