Academic Papers: Christianity

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 

Spirituality Within Assessments: Leethen Bartholomew

Assessments are carried out to aid in understanding the clients’ situation and may be used to identify resources, weaknesses and strengths. When working with families this is important to gain an understanding of the role spirituality plays in their decision making process and how their spirituality may act as either a source of stress or support in times of need.

This paper outlines how gaining an understanding of the client’s level of spirituality will help you understand what the individual’s beliefs are and what their past and current practices are. It also helps gives practitioners some of the tools that they may need to do so. To read the full paper please click here

DRC: Exorcising Spirits Instead of Exercising Rights? The Recent Phenomenon of Child Witch Accusation in the DRC

Undergraduate dissertation by Sancha Cadogan-Poole of the University of East London. Read full paper here

African witchcraft in theological perspective

This article is a theological contribution aimed at creating an understanding of the phenomenon of witchcraft in South Africa. Witchcraft still causes major social problems in this country. Thearticle argues that the development of a culture of human rights and the improvement of the judicial process alone will not solve this problem. Witchcraft is a too deeply rooted religious phenomenon. The phenomenon is described in its religious complexity and diversity. Witchcraft is discussed within the framework of the African theodicy. Full article here.

Witch-hunts in modern Africa and early modern Europe: A comparison

Belief in witchcraft is found across the world and in some societies alleged witches are persecuted and killed. This article explores the rise of false accusations of witchcraft and the resultant killings in South Africa in the last three decades; as many as 20 000 may have died between 2004 and 2008. The article considers these lynching’s in the light of killings associated with witch-hunts in Europe (1450–1750) focusing on the witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In many cases, people’s credulity is abused by those who accuse others of practising witchcraft. The accusers often stand to gain in some way and exploit the vulnerability of those they accuse. This article explores witch hunts as a reaction to disaster as related to gender bias and relational problems. It shows that such persecution is difficult to control with social institutions; it is a self propagating discourse with potentially tragic results for the victims. See the full article here: witchhunts in modern africa and early modern europe