Academic Papers: Human Rights

Nigeria: Witchcraft stigmatization in Nigeria: Challenges and successes in the implementation of child rights

The following analysis considers witchcraft accusations against children and the consequent children’s rights abuse in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. See full article here: Witchcraft stigmatization in Nigeria

Papua New Guinea: Comments on Sorcery in Papua New Guinea

Variations of sorcery and witchcraft are commonly reported in Papua New Guinea. The Melanesian Institute (in Goroka, PNG) has published two volumes (Zocca, ed. 2009; Bartle 2005) that deal extensively with some of the issues and problems that have resulted from the practices. In this article Dr Karl Franklin reviews Zocca, in particular, but add observations of my own and those of other authors. The paper provides a summary of the overall folk views of sorcery and witchcraft and the government and churches. Click here for paper.
suggestions on how to deal with the traditional customs.

Felix Riedel: Children in African Witch-Hunts – An introduction for Scientists and Social Workers.

Children are branded as witches on a mass-scale in Congo,Nigeria and Angola. Recent interpretational frameworks about these child witch-hunts employ a simplistic materialism centred on political and economic crises. Meanwhile, historic sources from distinct regions disprove the claim of a purely modern problem. While the concept of child-witchcraft is old and equally well-known from the European context, the recent crisis points indeed at a massive shift in propaganda and victimization strategies. In this text, two showcase film-analyses further question the importance of a crisis for the ideologemes. In the meantime, journalistic evidence and experiences of social workers spearhead the research as ethnographers seem to avoid the issue. Moral demands call for an implementation of advanced theory, psychological competence and social work with children accused of witchcraft.

See full paper 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.