accusations of witchcraft

Burkina Faso: Free Legal Aid for Women Accused of being Witches

Publication Date: 
November 19, 2010

PARIS (TrustLaw) - What links a British-based law firm to an initiative aimed at protecting women in Burkina Faso from accusations of witchcraft?

The answer's global pro bono work.

Earlier this year, a charity caring for older people, HelpAge International, asked Advocates for International Development (A4ID) to help with its work in, among others, Burkina Faso where it's been trying to raise awareness about the plight of women who've fallen victim to witchcraft allegations.

UN HRC: Witches in the 21st Century

Publication Date: 
August 24, 2011
UN Special Rapporteur Phillip Alston. (Photo: UN OHCHR)

Throughout history, people described as witches have been persecuted, tortured and murdered and the practice continues today. Statistics are not easy to come by but it is known that every year, thousands of people, mostly older women and children are accused as witches, often abused, cast out of their families and communities and in many cases murdered.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, in his most recent report to the Human Rights Council, says: “In too many settings, being classified as a witch is tantamount to receiving a death sentence.”

Tanzania: Villages Program to End Witchcraft Accusations

Publication Date: 
July 30, 2011

Imagine living in a community your whole life. Then suddenly, you are accused of witchcraft and told to leave. Or you are sent threatening letters saying you have bewitched a neighbour's child. Or you are attacked and slashed with a machete during the night.

The reality is, in many parts of the world, including Tanzania, older women are still persecuted and accused of witchcraft. Belief in witchcraft is still strong in many places and throughout society, but often these accusations have an underlying malicious element.

We believe that these accusations are a critical factor in the violation of women's rights.

Malawi: Witchcraft Legal Aid in Africa

Publication Date: 
February 17, 2011
New York Times

NEW YORK — Accusations of witchcraft in Africa have gained increasing attention because of the severe impact they can have on the lives of those accused, including imprisonment, deprivation of property, banishment from villages and in some cases physical violence.

The human-rights law program I direct recently partnered with an N.G.O. in Malawi to run a mobile legal-aid clinic focusing on witchcraft cases in two rural communities.

Nigeria: Children accused of witchcraft

Publication Date: 
August 28, 2010
Two children accused of witchcraft


By Christian Purefoy, CNN

August 28, 2010


Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria (CNN) -- Just after midnight, the pastor seized a woman's forehead with his large hand and she fell screaming and writhing on the ground. "Fire! Fire! Fire!" shouted the worshippers, raising their hands in the air.

Nepal: Witch Tag Only on Dalits, Minorities

Nepal: Witch Tag only on Dalits, Minorities
By: Mallika Aryal

Footage of 'witches' being abused by a mob in India

Footage of 'witches' being abused by a mob in India

Witches in the 21st Century

UNHCR - UN Refugee Agency

Direct Link to 44-Page 2009 Document:$file/unhcr-jan2009.pdf?openelement

Nepal: Dalit Woman Accused as Witch - Severly Abused

Women's Feature Service

India - New Delhi

Nepal: Dalit Woman Accused as Witch - Severly Abused

By Renu Kshetry

Boyani Gichana, Yobensia Onguso, Sandimu Mageto, Mary Yusita and Ongubo Ichari

Five lynched over witchcraft claim in Kisii
Published on 28/02/2009
By Robert Nyasato and Paul Gitau