NGO Reports: Witch-hunts

Ghana: Popular belief says children born ‘with deformities’ must be killed

Three-year old John the Baptist, who hails from Gnani, a community in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region, was born with a vein defect.At the age of two, John’s parents wrapped him in white cloths and left him beside a public refuse dump. His condition was bad because his neck and legs were fragile and could neither sit nor stand due to the vein defect.John’s situation was not different from four-year old Makpato whose parents decided to kill her due to her inability to talk at the age of three.

What John and Makpato passed through is unfortunately the ordeal many children who are born with defects are subjected to in communities such as Saboba, Wodando, Zabzugu, Tatale and Bimbilla. The common belief among some communities in the North is that children born with deformities are “spirit children” who are evil or a taboo to be sheltered and catered for. Read more here.

Burkina Faso: Discrimination against older women in Burkina Faso (HelpAge)

The following report, sets out the context in which poor older women live and highlights the discrimination that they experience. It then focuses on Articles 5 (Measures to combat social and cultural behaviour conducive to discrimination against women) and 11 (Social security and employment), providing recommendations for Government action for each of these articles. Full report here.

 

UK: “The Rights of All Children in the Context of International Migration” – AFRUCA

The following paper explores how the complex problems of immigration, poverty and exclusion can put children
at risk of witchcraft abuse and suggests recommendations to address the problem. See full report here.

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.

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

Sorcery beliefs and practices in Gumine: a source of conflict and insecurity

A report conducted as a part of the Security and Community Initiative Research project in Gumine District, working with affected people to establish how the practice of witchcraft and sorcery relates to insecurities faced in many families and the wider community in Gumine.  Full report see here. 

Targeting of women as witches: Trends, Prevalence and the law in Northern, Western,and Northeastern regions of India

A report carried out by experts, and stakeholders seeking to establish the ways in which a centuries-old system is invoked to stigmatise and punish women in contemporary India. Full report see here.