Salem Village lives…

Posted: June 4, 2010 in Current events

“Snaking around the outer wall of the courthouse in Mbaiki, Central African Republic, is a long line of citizens, all in human form and waiting to face judgment. It’s easy to imagine them as the usual mix of drunks, reckless drivers, and check-bouncers in the dock of a small American town. But here most are witches, and they are facing criminal punishment for hexing their enemies or assuming the shape of animals…” Here. Don’t think that a belief in witchcraft is limited to Africa. It is big in Mexico and Haiti (including Haitians in Miami), for example.

From a 2009  UN report:

  • Reports from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suggest that most of the 25,000 – 50,000 children living on the streets of the capital, Kinshasa are there because they have been accused of witchcraft and rejected by their families. In 2009 The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that in the DRC “violence against children accused of witchcraft is increasing, and that children are being kept as prisoners in religious buildings where they are exposed to torture and ill-treatment or even killed under the pretext of exorcism.”
  • The Special Rapporteur on violence against women has highlighted the problem of witch hunts in India, Nepal and South Africa.
  • In Ghana it is thought as many as 2,000 accused witches and their dependents are confined in five different camps. Most of the camp inmates are destitute, elderly women and some have been forced to live there for decades.
  • The murder and persecution of people accused of witchcraft in Tanzania is better documented than in most countries. The figures vary widely but it is estimated as many as a thousand, mostly elderly Tanzanian women are targeted and killed annually.
  • In Angola, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for “immediate action to eliminate the mistreatment of children accused of witchcraft”.
  • In Papua New Guinea, provincial police commanders reportedly said there were more than 50 sorcery-related killings in 2008. Other sources have suggested much higher figures.
  • In Nigeria, the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network reports an increasing number of children abandoned or persecuted on the grounds they are witches or wizards.
  • In Nepal, elderly women and widows are often singled out and abused in exorcism ceremonies.

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