UN Reports: Children

Malawi – Researched and compiled by the Refugee Documentation Centre of Ireland, 9 December 2013

Information on witchcraft including treatment of those who are perceived to be witches. Are children of perceived witches targeted? How do the police treat such cases?

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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Persons with albinism: Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

This preliminary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 23/13 of 13 June 2013.In some communities, erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition put the security and life of persons with albinism at risk. OHCHR has received information from various countries on cases of killings and dismembering of persons with albinism for ritual purposes. It has also collected information on the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination persons with albinism face worldwide.To read full report click here

Children with Albinism in Africa: Murder Mutilation and violence

This report was written for the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against children, Mme. Marta Santos Pais. The report presents a detailed and comprehensive overview of the situation in Tanzania concerning persons living with albinism (PWA), particularly children. See full report here: Comprehensive Report to Marta Santos – UN-SRSG and APPENDICES To Report to Marta Santos

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

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.

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

This study addresses the issue of children who are victims of violence and mistreatment due to local beliefs, representations and practices, in particular, relating to witchcraft. While the harmful consequences of these beliefs have been publicised internationally, their origins often remain unclear. The objective of the present document, therefore, is to reveal and analyze the diversity and
complexity 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 aims to clarify the basis for certain social practices that are wholly or partially misunderstood by western observers. See full report 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.