Academic Papers: International Law

Witchcraft: A human rights conflict between customary/traditional laws and the legal protection of women in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa

This following article provides an insight into the concept of witchcraft and its legal implications for women, particularly older women in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Part I explores the foundation for the belief in witchcraft and witchcraft’s place in and effect on the social ordering within communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Part II examines the clash of customary/traditional laws against state legal systems. Part III analyses various international treaties, principles and norms and explores international law and human rights standards that could arguably protect this victimised class of women. The article concludes by suggesting potential methods to handle situations involving witchcraft accusations. See the full article 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.

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