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UN Side Event – “Violence Against Children: Witchcraft Beliefs and Practices”

March 7th 2018

All WHRIN members are invited to attend a side event to the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council on: “Violence Against Children: Witchcraft Beliefs and Practices”

Please download the full concept note here

Please download the poster to the event HERE

Email workshop@whrin.org if you wish to attend the event and we will send you the relevant details. Please note that, sadly, we are not in a position to help with any costs or logistical arrangements.

WHRIN Releases Latest UN Report 2017

Witchcraft Accusations and Persecution; Muti Murders and Human Sacrifice:Harmful Beliefs and Practices Behind a Global Crisis in Human Rights

This report was specifically compiled for the United Nations Expert Workshop on Witchcraft and Human Rights, in Geneva on 21st and 22nd September 2017.

The report outlines a study of all recorded online cases of human rights abuses linked to beliefs in witchcraft, muti and human sacrifice in 2016.  It aims to provide some background understanding into the work carried out by the United Nations on these issues to date; outline the current scale of the abuses of human rights that are taking place across the world due such harmful beliefs and practices; identify emerging trends and, finally, act as a call to action for all UN, Government and civil society agencies working on these issues to redouble their efforts to develop solutions to prevent further abuses from taking place.

The full report can be downloaded HERE

UN Human Rights Council Event – Witchcraft and Human Rights Expert Workshop

 

On September 21st and 22nd 2017, WHRIN, together with the UN Independent Expert on Albinism and Lancaster University, organised the first ever UN Expert Workshop on Witchcraft and Human Rights at the UN Human Rights Council. Co-organizers for the event were the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The workshop was ground-breaking and the first of its kind at the UN or international level. It brought together UN Experts, academics and members of civil society to discuss the violence associated with such beliefs and practices and groups that are particularly vulnerable. The event highlighted the various manifestations of witchcraft beliefs and practice, including accusations, stigma, and ritual killings, before identifying good practice in combating such practices. The event marked an important step towards mainstreaming the issue into the UN Human Rights system, whilst providing impetus and practical guidance to the numerous international and regional mechanisms, academics and civil society actors that have been working to raise awareness and understanding of these challenging issues.

Whilst the workshop marked an important step in the fight to prevent more human rights abuses taking places due to beliefs in witchcraft, it is important that we use it as a springboard to TAKE MORE ACTION and keep the momentum up behind the movement that our network is creating. Please click HERE to see how WHRIN intends to support this happening.

More details about the UN Workshop on Witchcraft and Human Rights can be found below:

TV Coverage – You can view the entire workshop online via UN Web TV via the following links:

Preliminary Findings – A presentation of the preliminary findings from the workshop can be found here. A full report on the findings from the workshop will be compiled and submitted to the UN Human Rights Council by early 2018. WHRIN will look to update the network on progress here.

Final Report – The final report, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in February 2018, is available to download here

Photos – A slideshow of the photos of the event can be found here. With sincere thanks to Don Sawatsky from Under the Same Sun.

Press Coverage – The workshop was widely covered in the International Media. Please see links below:

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Publicity Video of the Workshop 

Remarks by Kate Gilmore, Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Special Representative to the Secretary General on Violence Against Children welcomes commitment to tackle impunity for witchcraft related human rights violations and to children’s protection from violence

Experts Propose Steps to End Practices Related to Witchcraft

UN moves against witchcraft, abuse of human rights, others

The Trade in Body Parts of People with Albinism is Driven by Myth and International Inaction

 

BBC Radio 5 Live Investigation into Witchcraft Accusations in the UK

Listen to the full story, including comment from WHRIN Executive Director – Gary Foxcroft – here 

South Africa: Juju’s hold on trafficking victims

“The spirits, they will know and they will kill me.” This fear of the spirits, known as “Juju”, was expressed by a 16-year-old girl who refused to tell her rescuer who had trafficked her from Nigeria to Madrid.

According to experts speaking at a conference on human trafficking in Johannesburg yesterday, Juju is commonly used by Nigerian traffickers to silence their victims and scare them into not escaping. The conference was arranged in response to the lack of information, especially statistics, on human trafficking.

Read more here

Kuwait: Pinay worker in Kuwait accused of being a witch, mauled by employer

Monica (not her real name) is a 35-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who has been working in the Middle East for a little more than 16 years…

Monica’s “lucky charm” is described in reports as …”dried amniotic sac or caul wrapped in a red cloth.” She explained that this had come from the birth of one of her children…

One day, Monica’s male employer happened to be searching her bag. Monica relates he went berserk when he found her lucky charm. He thought it was a tool used for witchcraft. He accused Monica of practicing black magic or sorcery. Under Kuwaiti law, sorcery or witchcraft is considered a crime.

Read more here

India: Man sentenced to life for killing woman suspecting her as witch

A man was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district today for killing a woman suspecting her to be a witch.

Additional District Judge, Baripada, Asanta Kumar Das held Prafulla Santara, a tribal of Badabhalia village, guilty for killing Jhunumani Santara (25) of the same village on October 6, 2011.

According to prosecution, Prafulla had beaten Jhunumani to death with a stick as he suspected that she was practising witchcraft that led to ailments in his family.

Read more here

Kenya: Stopping Witch Burning In Kenya?

Last Sunday, a 45 year old woman, Christine Jemeli Koech, was accused of witchcraft. A neighbour claimed that Koech, a mother of six had been responsible for her child’s illness. A local mob stormed Koech’s house early in the morning while she was asleep. They murdered her and burnt her body. This gruesome practice of lynching continues in the East African country of Kenya.

According to media reports, the neighbour has been arrested but the people who carried out the killing are still at large.

Read more here 

USA: Bible Passage on Human Sacrifice Potentially Linked With Woman’s Alleged Murder of Toddler

Authorities are investigating whether a Florida woman accused of murdering her ex-partner’s 2-year-old daughter was prompted to do so from her interpretation of an Old Testament passage.

On Sunday, Kymberley Dawn Lucas and her ex-partner’s two children, Elliana Lucas-Jamason and Ethan Jameson, attended a service at Metropolitan Community Church in Jupiter, Florida, where pastor Lea Brown taught on Genesis 22. The biblical narrative tells a story where God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, before God accepts a goat instead of the boy at the last minute.

One line of a note found by authorities on Lucas’ computer read “Lea’s sermon really, really touched me yesterday, but God never told me to stop!”

Read more here

India: Man ‘sacrificed’ for ritual three years ago comes ‘alive’

A 25-year-old man, who was allegedly kidnapped and sacrificed about three years ago, has resurfaced – alive and kicking, leaving everyone, including police and those who were booked for his murder, puzzled.

Read more here