Academic Papers: Christianity

Egress and Regress: Pentecostal Precursors and Parallels in Northern Mozambique

Based on fieldwork among the Makhuwa of northern Mozambique, this essay explores how non-Pentecostal models of transformation shape a people’s manner of relating to Pentecostalism. Radical change has long been constitutive of Makhuwa history and subjectivity. Yet Makhuwa patterns of change, commonly conceived in terms of movement, entail regress as much as egress – circular mobilities that disrupt linear teleologies. State administrators and Pentecostal missionaries attempt to reform local inhabitants by, respectively, ‘sedentarising’ and ‘converting’ them. Deploying their historical proclivity towards mobility, those among whom I worked appear simultaneously eager to partake in resettlement schemes and reluctant to remain settled by them. I argue that their ambivalence towards Pentecostal churches and teachings, in particular, challenges two prevailing assumptions within anthropological studies of Christianity: that discontinuity is definitive, and that it is exceptional to Pentecostalism.

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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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The Extent and Nature of Witchcraft-Based Violence against Children, Women and the Elderly in Malawi, April 27 2012

Many people observe that witchcraft is widely practiced in Malawi and that suspected witches are subjected to acts of violence. However, no systematic research study has been conducted to determine the extent and nature of witchcraft-based violence against children, women, and the elderly who are the most vulnerable groups. Previous reports have often been based on hearsay, and there has been no systematic analysis of the reports. The overall aim of the study was to find out the extent of witchcraft-based violence toward women, the elderly and children so that remedial measures could be prescribed.

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An Anthropological Study of Witchcraft-related Crime in the Eastern Cape and its implications for Law Enforcement Policy and Practice, Jan 2009

This research sought to investigate the phenomenon of witchcraft-related crime in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, and its implications for law enforcement policy and practice. The primary motivation for a study such as this emerged from the need to address the lack of academic knowledge about witchcraft-related crime, especially in the Eastern Cape. The study is anthropological in focus, and is thus based on anthropological techniques of data gathering.

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Witch-hunts in South Africa – Advocacy against Human Rights Abuses Committed as a Result of Accusations of Witchcraft and Violent Witch-hunts, 2014

The vast majority of victims of accusation of witchcraft, both deceased and still living, in South Africa have been and are being denied their legal right to all of these constitutional rights. Accusations of witchcraft are not condoned under the constitutional rights to freedom of religion, belief and opinion, or expression, as incitement to propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, that constitutes incitement to cause harm, is not protected under South African law. Accusations of witchcraft and resulting witch-hunts constitute a series of clearly identified crimes under both international and national law.

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CORI Thematic Report Nigeria: Gender and Age, December 2012

The reports detailedly presents the issues of women, victims and persons at risk or trafficking, children, and LGBTI individuals in Nigeria, including the current conditions and promising practices. See full report here

Mission to Sierra Leone: comments by the State on the report of the Special Rapporteur, 17 February 2014

History has shown that with education and improved health and low mortality, the belief in witchcraft disappears in Sierra Leone. As regards female genital cutting, the Government has worked very closely with the UN family agencies to ensure that a memorandum of understanding was signed with the ‘Soweis”-the female traditional leaders who perform FGC-in order to maintain the legal age of eighteen below which it is currently illegal to perform such harmful practices. The Government will continue to support massive sensitization and awareness-raising on the ills of this issue.

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Report of the Special Rapporteur on her freedom of religion or belief, Asthma Jahangir, on her mission to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 12 JANUARY 2009

Following invitations by the Government of Israel and by the Palestinian Authority, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief carried out a mission to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory from 20 to 27 January 2008.

The present report first outlines international legal standards and then gives an overview of the domestic legal framework on freedom of religion or belief. In the third part, the Special Rapporteur refers to the religious demography and highlights selected aspects of the status of freedom of religion or belief in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the last part, the Special Rapporteur presents her conclusions and recommendations.

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Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief – the Republic of Sierra Leone: Human Rights Council 25th session, 23 December 2013

The present report contains the findings and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on his visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone, which took place from 30 June to 5 July 2013.
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the admirable culture of inter- and intrareligious open-heartedness cherished in families, neighbourhoods, schools and public life in
Sierra Leone. People from the country’s two main religions — Islam and Christianity — live together in peace and harmony and this tolerant attitude generally extends to adherents of traditional African spirituality. The same amicable spirit guides the relationships between different branches within Islam — Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadis — as well as the different denominations within Christianity — Anglicans, Catholics, Evangelicals and others. Interreligious marriages and conversions in various directions are widespread and generally receive approval from families and communities. The Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone has played a pivotal role in the ongoing process of rebuilding the nation after a civil war in which atrocities beyond human imagination were committed.

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Hunting Witches – World Policy Journal Article by WHRIN

Article by Gary Foxcroft, Executive Director, WHRIN. Read full article here