Academic Papers: International Law

Child Witches: From Imaginary Cannibalism to Ritual Abuse, 2012

As Quidditch comes to the Olympic Expo Games in Oxford this year (Martinez 2012), the Seekers, Chasers and Beaters recreating JK Rowling’s fantasy game are no doubt unaware that many children in the UK are languishing in an altogether different world of ‘witchcraft and wizardry,’ a world of ndoki and kindoki.

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BANISHED – A scholar examines how the persecution of alleged witches in Africa has evolved into a human rights issue on a global scale, August 1, 2013

In 2010, an African woman petitioned for political asylum in the U.S. on what seemed to be rather far-fetched grounds: She claimed her life was in jeopardy because she had been accused of being a witch. The woman, who was from Guinea, said villagers believed she was a witch because she had given birth to an intersex child. The woman contended that she needed asylum because when she was a girl she had witnessed another accused witch burned alive.

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No Peace in the House: Witchcraft Accusations as an “Old Woman’s Problem” in Ghana, 2013

In Ghana, older women may be marginalized, abused, and even killed as witches. Media accounts imply this is common practice, mainly through stories of “witches camps” to which the accused may flee. Anthropological literature on aging and on witchcraft, however, suggests that this focus exaggerates and misinterprets the problem. This article presents a literature review and exploratory data on elder advocacy and rights intervention on behalf of accused witches in Ghana to help answer the question of how witchcraft accusations become an older woman’s problem in the context of aging and elder advocacy work. The ineffectiveness of rights based and formal intervention through sponsored education programs and development projects is contrasted with the benefit of informal conflict resolution by family and staff of advocacy organizations. Data are based on ethnographic research in Ghana on a rights based program addressing witchcraft accusations by a national elder advocacy organization and on rights based intervention in three witches camps.

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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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2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – South Africa, February 25, 2009

South Africa is a multiparty parliamentary democracy in which constitutional power is shared between the president and the parliament. The country has a population of approximately 48.5 million. The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens. However, the government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and local media reported the following serious human rights problems: police use of excessive force against suspects and detainees, which resulted in deaths and injuries; vigilante and mob violence; abuse of prisoners, including beatings and rape, and severe overcrowding of prisons; lengthy delays in trials and prolonged pretrial detention; forcible dispersal of demonstrations; pervasive violence against women and children and societal discrimination against women and persons with disabilities; trafficking in persons; violence resulting from racial and ethnic tensions and conflicts with foreigners; and child labor, including forced child labor and child prostitution.

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2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Burkina Faso, 8 April 2011

Burkina Faso is a parliamentary republic with a population of approximately 15.7 million. Human rights problems in Burkina Faso included security force use of excessive force against civilians, criminal suspects, and detainees; arbitrary arrest and detention; abuse of prisoners and harsh prison conditions; official impunity; judicial inefficiency and lack of independence; occasional restrictions on freedom of assembly; official corruption; societal violence and discrimination against women and children, including female genital mutilation; trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities; and child labor.

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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: the mission to the Central African Republic, 19 May 2010

The present report analyses the progress made by the Central African Republic in implementing recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions following his visit to the country from 31 January to 7 February 2008.

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The worst forms of child labor in Congo, 2011

The Government has several laws and regulations that address the worst forms of child labor. However, children continue to work in many worst forms, including as child soldiers and in agriculture and mining. Armed rebel groups and poorly integrated elements of the Congolese National Army continue to abduct and forcibly recruit children for armed conflict and sexual exploitation. There is no compulsory education requirement, and the Government does not have sufficient enforcement or social protection capacity to protect against exploitative child labor.

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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

Ghana – Operational guidance note, November 2013

This document provides Home Office caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of Ghana, including whether claims are or are not likely to justify the granting of asylum, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave. Caseworkers must refer to the relevant Asylum Instructions for further details of the policy on these areas.

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