UN Reports: Asylum and Refugees

Crimes, conflicts and courts: the administration of justice in a Zambian refugee settlement, November 2010

During a visit to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya in March 1996, a researcher came across three minors and a mentally ill woman, detained in two cells in the middle of the camp and guarded by a young man with a long whip. When the researcher raised the human rights implications of this situation with UNHCR staff, his concerns were “dismissed with the observation that ‘this is their culture.’” Yet the Sudanese Bench Courts in Kakuma, of which the detention cells were part, were originally funded by the Lutheran World Federation, an international NGO responsible for the management of the camp.

See full report here

Violence Against Children Accused of Witchcraft – Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children

Violence Against Children Accused of Witchcraft, Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children – Marta Santos Pais –   Geneva, 10 March 2014. See full statement here

WHRIN Launches Report to UN – 21st Century Witchcraft Accusations and Persecution

Geneva, March 10th  2014 – WHRIN launches what may be the first ever report into the global scale of witchcraft accusations and persecution, muti killings and human sacrifice at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council. See full report here
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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

UN: Breaking the spell: responding to witchcraft accusations against children – UNHCR

Witchcraft allegations against children have become the focus of increased international attention in recent years. Recent reports by Phillip Alston, Gary Foxcroft, Jill  Schnoebelen and Alexandra Cimpric representing respectively, the United Nations,  Stepping Stones Nigeria, UNHCR and UNICEF have all highlighted increasing concerns regarding violence and abuse towards children accused of witchcraft. Accusations of witchcraft cause direct violations of children‟s rights. Children are isolated or even rejected from their family and community, end up living on the streets, become victims of different forms of trafficking, suffer from physical and mental health problems and trauma due to the abuses they have experienced (AFRUCA, 2009). Already vulnerable children become even more vulnerable as a result of witchcraft accusations. Cases of children being harmed, abused or killed due to accusations of being a witch or for the purpose of witchcraft have been documented in many countries around the world, though the vast majority of cases investigated to date have been  African. This paper focuses on African case studies. Please click here for full paper.

UN: Witchcraft allegations, refugee protection and human rights: a review of the evidence – UNHCR

Accused witches have been executed by hanging, drowning and burning at the stake throughout history. The persecution of accused witches continues today in communities around the globe.  Both men and women are at risk of accusation and over the past decade children are increasingly  falling victim to such allegations. Startling accounts of torture, starvation, abandonment and  death have been documented. Protection concerns can arise at home and in the context of forced  displacement or voluntary migration. Witchcraft accusations, the associated risk of persecution, the cycle of displacement, and what this means for those in the refugee field are the focus of this  UNHCR paper. Please click here for full paper.