NGO Reports: Human Rights

Witchcraft accusations: A protection concern for UNHCR and the Wider Humanitarian Community?

The following paper takes a broad look at the belief in witchcraft around the world, identifies key groups that are at risk of witchcraft accusations, outlines where witchcraft accusations may be most likely to occur, analyses the factors that lead to these becoming a protection concern and finally makes a number of recommendations for policy makers and practitioners working on this issue. See here

Ghana: Popular belief says children born ‘with deformities’ must be killed

Three-year old John the Baptist, who hails from Gnani, a community in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region, was born with a vein defect.At the age of two, John’s parents wrapped him in white cloths and left him beside a public refuse dump. His condition was bad because his neck and legs were fragile and could neither sit nor stand due to the vein defect.John’s situation was not different from four-year old Makpato whose parents decided to kill her due to her inability to talk at the age of three.

What John and Makpato passed through is unfortunately the ordeal many children who are born with defects are subjected to in communities such as Saboba, Wodando, Zabzugu, Tatale and Bimbilla. The common belief among some communities in the North is that children born with deformities are “spirit children” who are evil or a taboo to be sheltered and catered for. Read more here.

Tanzania: Children with Albinism & the Right to Health

Children with albinism (“CWA” – commonly referred to as “albinos”) are a particularly endangered group due to the difficult circumstances in the sub Saharan Africa region. A good number are killed at birth, others abandoned in early childhood, still others are killed by exposure to sunlight and skin cancer.
More recently, scores with albinism including children have been killed due to the witchcraft-related belief that their body parts can be used to create wealth and good luck when used in witchcraft potions. To date there have been 71  documented killings of Persons With Albinism (PWA), 30 Survivors and 17 grave robberies. A majority (over half) of these victims are under the age of 18. The following brief carried out by Under the Same Sun discusses the issues faced by ‘CWA’. Read more here.

 

Burkina Faso: Discrimination against older women in Burkina Faso (HelpAge)

The following report, sets out the context in which poor older women live and highlights the discrimination that they experience. It then focuses on Articles 5 (Measures to combat social and cultural behaviour conducive to discrimination against women) and 11 (Social security and employment), providing recommendations for Government action for each of these articles. Full report here.

 

UK: “The Rights of All Children in the Context of International Migration” – AFRUCA

The following paper explores how the complex problems of immigration, poverty and exclusion can put children
at risk of witchcraft abuse and suggests recommendations to address the problem. See full report here.

The Practice of Ritual Killings and Human Sacrifice in Africa

Article published by the Human Rights Brief on the practice of ritual killings and human sacrifice in Africa.  See more here.

Papua New Guinea: Together We Can Stop Witch Burning in Papua New Guinea

The recent lynching of a 20-year old woman, Leniata Kepari for sorcery has revealed the urgency and complexity of the situation.  It underscores the imperative a pro-active approach. Even as the world is still trying to comprehend the reason for this savage act, the police in Papua New Guinea has reportedly saved two other women from being lynched. According to the report, the ‘two elderly women were tied to poles and people were preparing to set them alight over the death of an eight-year-old girl’. The girl’s relatives believed the women killed their child through sorcery and magic. A local witch doctor called a ‘glassman’ who claimed to have supernatural powers had identified the women as responsible for the child’s death. Please find the full article by Leo Igwe here.

Uganda: Child Sacrifice and the mutilation of children in Uganda

This research carried out by Humane Africa, EACO and others in Uganda studies the issues relating to child mutilation, and is the only research based exclusively on firsthand eyewitness accounts in Uganda. Please see full report here: Child Sacrifice and the mutilation of children in Uganda

Uganda: Child Safety Fund – Boreholes Help Prevent Child Sacrifice

In rural Mukono Children and women travel miles each day to collect water for their families. It’s dangerous and debilitating. Children are kept out of school so that they can perform this and other associated household tasks.While walking long distances to collect water, children are vulneralbe to kidnapping and sacrifice, more so in Mukono and this happens when they travel to collect water to very far wells deep in the forests. These boreholes provide water closer to the town centre, so women and children do not have to travel far to fetch water, and are therefore safer from kidnapping and sacrifice. Read this article written by Shadrak Kyobe from EACO here.

Uganda: Tackling Child Sacrifice, Violence and Poverty

An interview with Mirina Nanziri, Field Partners Coordinator & Editor, EACO Uganda, about her work with EACO to tackle the challenges faced by the women and children. See here.