NGO Reports: Human Rights

NEPAL: Witchcraft as a Superstition and a form of violence against women in Nepal

A lot of Nepalese women fall victim to accusations of witchcraft and are tortured despite the fact that the accusations are based on superstition. Belief in witchcrafts has prevailed in the underdeveloped and developing countries since ancient times and it is always women who are considered as the practitioner with supernatural powers (i.e. the negative energy that can hepatize the man, animals and other living things and responsible for making them ill or even killing them). It is the result of religious practices and the mentality of the society that it is the women who are always accused. Despite the arrival of the 21st century, the community views towards women has not changed yet and still they are vulnerable to being accused of practicing witchcraft and being tortured by members of their own community. Mostly widows and the elderly with low economic status, especially those who belonged to so called lower caste of Dalits and other marginalized communities are accused of witchcraft. Some people in the Nepalese society continue to believe that the magical powers of these women are responsible for the infirmity of the people.

This report carried out by Human Rights Asia, discusses the continuing abuse of women accused of  witchcraft, calling for the Nepalese government to establish  a law which would never let any person to accuse the women on such a way where she is not only tortured in the name of tradition but also loses her dignity.

Please click here to see the full report

Nepal: Legislating Against Witchcraft Accusations in Nepal

A report carried out by the Asia foundation discussing the limitations of domestic legislation to combat against witchcraft accusations in Nepal. In the absence of a dedicated witchcraft bill that removes any ambiguity regarding punishment of perpetrators and provides victims with concrete legal backing for protection and justice, the following article calls for closer coordination and information flows between state and non-state agencies in continuing to combat this heinous practice. Full report here.

Nepal: A Study on Violence due to Witchcraft Allegation and Sexual Violence

Nepal, as a member state of the United Nation, has ratified various International human rights treaties and convention related to the
rights of women which explicitly shows Nepal’s commitment towards protecting and promoting the rights of women. However, the situation of women doesn’t seem satisfactory. More than 50 per cent of Nepal’s population is women but their status is still very poor. They have a lower status than men in each aspect of the Human Development Index. Illiteracy, patriarchal society and the economic dependency of women on man create grounds for male domination over woman. Accusations of the so-called practice of witchcraft, rape and incidents of sexual violence are some of the examples of violence against women which occur in Nepalese society.

The following article explores the widespread violence that occurs against women as a result of witchcraft allegation in the context of domestic and international legislation. Full article here. 

Uganda:Man Beheaded for Witchcraft

In Uganda, the belief in witchcraft and ‘black’ magic is very strong. The term witchcraft evokes fear in the minds of people across the country. Very often people attribute death, diseases or any misfortune to witchcraft. Witchcraft accusations often take place among neighbours, family or community members. People hate or react violently to anybody suspected of using occult powers to harm or destroy. A witch is generally seen as an ‘enemy within’ who should be eliminated.  Read more here.

Working to abolish Child Sacrifice in Uganda

A report into the practice of child sacrifice and kidnapping in Uganda, which has slowly turned into a clandestine business involving traditional healers and business men. See full report here.

Through albino eyes: the plight of albino people in Africa’s Great Lakes region and a Red Cross Response

A report conducted by the Red Cross looking into the plight of albinos living in Burundi and Tanzania. Full report here.

Children Accused of Witchcraft: An anthropological study of contemporary practices in Africa

This report addresses the issue of children who are victims of violence and mistreatment due to local beliefs, representations and practices, in particular, relating to witchcraft.  The present document reveals and analyzes the diversity and
of these phenomena ‐ often falsely associated with “African tradition” ‐ related to beliefs in witchcraft and the “mystical” world. Using examples from sub‐Saharan Africa, the study clarifies the basis for certain social practices that are wholly or partially misunderstood by western observers.

Targeting child protection agencies, the report provides guidance on effective child protection interventions. See full report here.

Combating Child Sacrifice in Uganda

Report by Advocates for Human Dignity defining and assessing the scale of child sacrifice in Uganda. See here. 

Condemned without trial: Women and Witches in Ghana

A report conducted by Action Aid in response to the Ghanaian Governments announcement of their intention to close all witch camps. The report looks into the conditions of the camps, and provides recommendations regarding how to safely reintegrate alleged witches back into society. See the full report here: Condemned without trial, Women and witches in Ghana

Protecting children from harmful practices in plural legal systems

With a special focus on Africa, the following report addresses law reform in countries with plural legal systems that combine national codified law with informal and unwritten customary and religious law, to support the development of the CRC/CEDAW General Comment/General Recommendation on harmful practices. Full report here.