Topic typically orphans who have lost one or both

Topic A: Child
Witches in Sub-Saharan Africa

Accusations of witchcraft target the
vulnerable: those who appear physically different, those who act differently,
and others who are viewed as undesirable burdens on their caregivers
financially, physically, or emotionally. Usually these
unfortunate kids fall in three categories:

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The first category, are typically
orphans who have lost one or both natural parents and/or with a physical
disability or illness. The second type of children are whose birth is
considered abnormal, such as the “bad birth”. These includes premature birth, or
presentation may be in any variety of breech positions, or in the posterior,
face?up position during
delivery. Sometimes they also include twins as if any difference in their birth
is making gods anger or has something to do with evil or occult powers. The third
category concerns children with albinism because of the supposed magic powers
contained in parts of their bodies, including their organs, hair, skin and

in numbers, any child could be accused of witchcraft because any small
difference they present, might be a cause of preoccupation of something evil
around them in their community.

We can
find multiple causes of the increasing growth of accusations of witchcraft
against children. Anthropologists and social observers are unanimous in
recognizing the complexity of economic, political and social factors that
contribute to such accusations.

Once accused of witchcraft, children
are abused and forced to confess their knowledge of witchcraft, sometimes and
then they end up killed during rituals. Furthermore, even if they survive a
spiritual treatment which could be to swallow substances, fastening, our pouring
petrol in eyes or ears, as part of a ritual to take the witchcraft out of them,
(Pastors charge for these “service”) the children will be rejected forever
within the family and community and sometimes also expelled. Even so, the risk
for being accused of witchcraft again remains high. Many rejected children or
children who are forced to flee from their communities live in the streets.
Here, they are again victims of rights violations in the form of physical
violence, prostitution and sexual violence.

most prevalent contemporarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, beliefs in sorcery are
global; immigrants in other countries carry with them their cultural beliefs,
including witchcraft superstitions. Limited medical knowledge about illnesses
combined with such a cultural belief system “predisposes people to look for
scapegoats for who is responsible” (MacLean, 2014). The answer they find for all
these misfortunes is witchcraft.



• II: Country
Policy –

Sweden is aware and interested in all human being wellness. So, this
situation seems to us as a direct attack to human rights, mostly in children.

We know there are
different ONG´s that are working directly in this issue such as

The Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) that is a charity
organization, that has the mission “reduce numbers of street and abandoned
children, to stop children being “branded” such as as witches and wizards, and
prevents to prevent children being killed for these reasons, and to facilitate
the rehabilitation of abused children.” CRARN has made many movements toward achieving
these goals using measuring as (PACT) (Preventing the Abandonment of Children Today)
campaign, which is a program that focuses on children accused of witchcraft and
avoiding the abandonment. There is another charity, Nigeria called Stepping
Stones, who is building shelter for these abandoned children and works with Aiwa
Ibom and CRARN.

The shelter is giving a full service as education, medical treatments,
food and has successfully reunited 32 families with their children between 2003
and 2009

The UK gave support to this program which purpose is to prepare children
for a sustainable future. This kind of efforts should be duplicated as a best
practice in the resolutions coming out of this committee. heir efficacy serves
as an example to be followed in the current day.

On another hand the main effort is
not to change the believe in witchcraft, it is to protect children from
violence and abuse, most of these methods have been proven in other cases,
which are negotiating with families, finding allies in local churches,
providing services to vulnerable children and enforcing law. Strengthen the
structure of the family. 

We know that
laws act Unfortunately against children accused for witchcraft, instead of
being for their accusators.


We completely
backup some countries had tried to put laws against accusations. For example,
in 2012 at Aiwa Ibom, in Nigeria, they realized the annual International Symposium
of PACT (Preventing the Abandonment of Children Today), they did a great media
coverage to get more people know about it. The government issued a law that
punishes people who accuses witchcraft (DeFraia, 2012), also this law addresses
the arrest of parents who abandoned children for witchcraft. This law was to
send the message that the police in Nigeria would no longer be lax in their
approach to child abuse.


Another chapter occurred in January 2009, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, issued the Child Protection Law. Congo also is a signatory the African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, that states that children are
protected by law from any violence or abuse. This law says that accusing a
child of sorcery or witchcraft is punishable from one to three years of penal servitude.
This law has the weakness that is not well known.



UNICEF goal is to work with as many people involved as it can such as CRARN,
authorities, society, NGOs, members of the private sector, and other concerned
entities to count the impact this accusation of witchcraft have had in children.

called governments to integrate children into their communities, through
programs and health care services,


It is a purpose of the EU system of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
and the NGO´s to take special care to this issue, that affects Huma Rights in
Africa, although we have not idea of the real magnitude of the problem.





• III.
Proposed Solutions –

We don´t want to deny their believes, the violence
that a kid has to go through after these accusations deserves greater attention
from our governments. Local and international as well as the non?governmental organizations (NGOs)

addition, awareness-raising about child abuse, engagement and dialogue with
churches, communities, politicians, and traditional and religious leaders is also
necessary to counter the negative consequences of beliefs in witchcraft and to
provide a better understanding of children’s rights (DeFraia, 2012) (UNICEF,
2010). TO build a dialogue with the community can help reduce these acts.

The increased
global awareness of the problem will eventually lead to more initiatives to
assist victims. In the meantime, awareness and prevention campaigns,
conferences and theological education with support of religious leaders and politicians,
human rights organizations should be addressed

Further solutions:

Prohibit by law the exorcism out of government criteria, this means that
government would be the only authorized to practice an exorcism (independently
of their believes) this will help educate the family of accusator and in case
they still ask for a solution, government will be encharged of not harming the

Develop mechanisms and criteria to determine the best interest of
children about temporary placement, family reintegration and permanency


If any pastors charges for an exorcism or practices the exorcism he
would be in prison.

Also To strengthen vulnerable families with social protection, providing
them with access to basic health and education services.

To reduce poverty and any economic factor that can induce children to be
appointed as witchcraft. The increase of support services for abandoned
children they should not be isolated or have the stigma because of any
accusation of witchcraft on their backs, build safe spaces for them to be
sheltered and recovered and eventually reintegrate them to society.

Develop reintegration strategies that include an anti?stigma component. 

Work with families and communities to fight stigmatization and ensure
that children can return home in safety. Promote the role of health
professionals in protecting children accused of witchcraft. Assess risks
associated with the children’s return to their family and community.

Access and quality of health services. Improve the capacities of health
workers and the availability and quality of health services to reduce the belief
in witchcraft as a cause of illness. Provide public health education on the
most common diseases, such as malaria, AIDS, cancer and diabetes. Promote
deliveries in hospitals or health centers. Promote access to the legal system
for children accused of witchcraft

Laws must be changed to decriminalize witchcraft in this way children
won´t be accused and he will not have consequences with law. Create laws that
start prosecuting people that harm or abuse children that includes authorities,
religious leaders and healers. The creation of a legal system to protect these

To consider as overall legal reform
to allow legal access for children accused of witchcraft to the legal
protection when been accused of witchcraft. Some actions to be considered to
improve access to justice for children accused of witchcraft are:

Allow a legal reform to
decriminalize witchcraft, emphasize the prosecution of persons criminalizing
them and give resources for special protection to these children in contact
with the law. Laws allowing the prosecution of persons who accuse, and harm
children, including religious leaders and traditional healers and other “authorities”
involved in practices hostiles for the children, will allow for a stronger
response by the legal system, along with specific campaigns to change the law
governing witchcraft, reform efforts should also promote child friendly justice
systems that are in line with international standards. Any infraction should be
punished through official legal proceedings

the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European
Union became directly binding on all EU Institutions and Member States. Article
24 of the Charter explicitly deals with the rights of the child and states:

Children will have the right to protection and care if necessary to meet
their rights. They may express themselves freely. Their views will be considered
no matter their age and maturity.

all actions concerning children, no matter public authorities or private
institutions, must consider the child’s best interests at first.

Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a
personal relationship and direct contact with both his/her parents, unless that
is contrary to his or her interests.