UN Reports: Human Rights

UN: PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston

The present report details the main activities of the Special Rapporteur in 2008 and the first three months of 2009. It also examines four issues of particular importance: (a) responding to reprisals against individuals assisting the Special Rapporteur in his work; (b) upholding the prohibition against the execution of juvenile offenders; (c) the killing of witches; and (d) the use of lethal force in the process of policing public assemblies. Please click here for the full report

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: 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.