Academic Papers: All

Sorcery and death squads. Transformations of state, sovereignty, and violence in postcolonial Mozambique. (2009)

Mozambique norm and standard has been reported to support “summary executions by police” and “police killings” in all major cities in Mozambique. Bertelsen explains the correlation between state and violence, with accompanying human rights violations that are currently taking place within Mozambique. 

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21st Century Witchcraft Accusations

Being accused of witchcraft, black magic or other forms of evil, can result in serious violations of human rights including, at the most extreme, torture and death. This happens all around the world. Women, children, the disabled and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to these forms of abuse.

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Anthropological and Historical Approaches to Witchcraft: Potential for a New Collaboration?

Witchcraft was studied in the 1960s through a comparative approach that covered different continents and periods of time. The topic was again widely discussed by anthropologists and sociologists in the 1990s, with an emphasis on global, and interdisciplinary perspectives to better understand witchcraft.

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Socio-Cultural Factors Affecting Child Witchcraft Labelling Among the People of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, 2012

The study investigated Socio-cultural factors affecting child witchcraft labeling among the people of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The simple random and cluster sampling techniques were used for the selection of three hundred and fifty respondents used as sample for the study. The questionnaire and focused group discussions were instruments of data collection. Analysis was done using the frequency and percentages, correlation and multiple regression. The results of the findings revealed that there exist significance relationship between social factors and child witchcraft labeling. Cultural factors were discovered also to have influence on child witchcraft labeling. Based on the findings, it is recommended that deliberate and proactive steps must be taken to curb the excesses of the perpetrators of this evil act of child witchcraft labeling. Most of the cultural beliefs should be reframed in line with modernization.

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Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession/ Witchcraft – Practice Guidance for Social Workers, August 2012

Social workers are charged with safeguarding children. It is important to be aware of the subject of abuse linked with a belief system so that cases of such abuse can be identified at the earliest possible stage. Cases of child abuse linked to a belief in spirit possession or witchcraft are not common however they can lead to extreme physical and emotional abuse and to child deaths. The cases of Victoria Climbie, Kristy Bamu and Ikpomwosa, whose torso was recovered from the Thames, were all child deaths linked to this belief system. Therefore if you believe this issue may be present it is vital to respond as quickly as possible.

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Effectiveness of IEC interventions in reducing HIV/AIDS related stigma among high school adolescents in Hawassa, Southern Ethiopia, 2008

Misconceptions on HIV transmission and prevention, stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes were prevalent among the adolescents. Remarkable reduction in HIV related misconceptions, stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes were observed. Hence, campaigns using combined IEC interventions on HIV/AIDS need to be intensified to dispel some of the prevailing misconceptions and associated stigma and discrimination among school adolescents.

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Epilepsy-associated stigma in sub-Saharan Africa: The social landscape of a disease, 2005

Many studies in developed regions of the world have confirmed that stigma contributes substantially to the psychological and social burden of epilepsy. Relatively few studies of epilepsy-associated stigma have been conducted in Africa, where much of the world’s burden of epilepsy exists. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), particularly in rural regions, close family ties, communal living situations, and traditional belief systems undoubtedly influence the expression of stigmatization. A review of the epidemiologic, anthropologic, and sociologic studies of epilepsy in SSA provides significant insights into how people with epilepsy (PWE) are per- ceived by their communities and families and how these perceptions translate into limited social and economic opportunities and possibly worsen the physical vulnerability of PWE in this region. The medical community is not exempt from the social process of stigmatization, and poor public health infrastructure and medical services undoubtedly contribute to the cycle of epilepsy-asso- ciated stigma through wide treatment gaps, poor seizure control, and high rates of seizure-related injury. In this review, we extrapolate data from existing studies of epilepsy in SSA coupled with our own experience providing epilepsy care in the region to give an overview of the social landscape of this common, devastating condition.

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Voodoo, Witchcraft and Human Trafficking in Europe, Oct 2013

This paper focuses on human rights violations linked to African witchcraft which are occurring in Europe. It is organized in three sections. The first section examines threats toward alleged child-witches; the second examines the misuse of voodoo to enslave women for sexual purposes; and the third will look at the mistreatment and sexual abuse of children or women as part of witchcraft rituals.

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Witchcraft and Displacement

There is a longstanding and well-documented relationship between human displacement and witchcraft allegations. The Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES) has undertaken a very rapid assessment of the current state of knowledge about refugee protection and witchcraft allegations.

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The Witch Hunt as a Structure of Argumentation

The concept of a witch hunt is frequently invoked, in recent times, to describe a kind of procedure for deciding the guilt of a person against whom an accusation has been made. But what exactly is a witch hunt? In this paper, ten conditions are formulated as a cluster of properties characterizing the witch hunt as a framework in which arguments are used: (1) pressure of social forces, (2) stigmatization, (3) climate of fear, (4) resemblance to a fair trial, (5) use of simulated evidence, (6) simulated expert testimony, (7) nonfalsifi- ability characteristic of evidence, (8) reversal of polarity, (9) non-openness, and (10) use of the loaded question technique. The witch hunt, as characterized by these criteria, is shown to function as a negative normative structure for evaluating argumentation used in particular cases.

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