Academic Papers: Children

(2015), “Children accused of witchcraft in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): between structural and symbolic violence”

In this paper Quaretta considers the phenomenon of “child-witches” (enfants-sorciers) in Lubumbashi (Katanga, DRC), which seems to be the result of the combination of two socio-cultural factors: the structural violence present in everyday family life where accusations of witchcraft against children can occur, and the symbolic violence exerted on street children, on whom the label “child witch” is often directed. On the one hand, witchcraft accusations are the consequence of increasing structural violence to which children are subjected in the sphere of family living conditions; on the other hand, the transgression of social norms by the sheges provokes the inhabitants of Lubumbashi to identify the street children with witchcraft. The data presented in this document comes mostly from socio-anthropological fieldwork carried out in Katanga between 2010 and 2012. The most significant sources of information in the research survey were the Salesian centres for street children, Bakanja Ville and Bakanja Centre, one revivalist church, and the Congolese families he visited on a regular basis.

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Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession/ Witchcraft – Practice Guidance for Social Workers, August 2012

Social workers are charged with safeguarding children. It is important to be aware of the subject of abuse linked with a belief system so that cases of such abuse can be identified at the earliest possible stage. Cases of child abuse linked to a belief in spirit possession or witchcraft are not common however they can lead to extreme physical and emotional abuse and to child deaths. The cases of Victoria Climbie, Kristy Bamu and Ikpomwosa, whose torso was recovered from the Thames, were all child deaths linked to this belief system. Therefore if you believe this issue may be present it is vital to respond as quickly as possible.

See full report here.

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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Child Abuse in the UK: Witchcraft and Possession, Oct 2013

The essay is an argument for legislative reform linking the branding of children as witches and possessed and incitement to significant harm. It will propose that the law is reformed to include the criminal offence of inciting significant harm to a child.

See full essay here.

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.

See full report here

 

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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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.

See full report here

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.

See full report here

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.

See full report here