UNITED STATES: Intergovernmental organization United Nations (UN) passed a historic resolution on Thursday that called for an end of witchcraft atrocities worldwide. The resolution has been passed after years of advocacy by a team of academics.
The resolution calls for the elimination of harmful practices related to witchcraft beliefs, including beatings, banishment, cutting of body parts, and amputation of limbs, torture, and murder. It also affirms that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security.
Every year, there are thousands of people accused of witchcraft globally. The accused are disfigured or killed for witchcraft-related rituals, according to academics from Lancaster University in the U.K. The academics team was part of the team that worked hard to get the resolution passed at the UN.
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental body that aims to maintain international peace and security.
The people who are usually targeted for witchcraft activities are women, children, seniors, and people with disabilities, including albinism.
According to the reports, there have been more than 700 attacks on people with albinism in the last decade. Albinism is a genetic disorder that reduces the body’s ability to create melanin. Thus, people with Albinism have very light skin, hair, and eyes. Due to their physical appearance, they are accused of being involved in witchcraft.
Albinism and witchcraft
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), some believe that people with albinism are “magical beings or ghosts”. “They will mutilate or even kill them to use their body parts for witchcraft rituals,” the organization added.
In Africa, the trafficking of body parts of people with albinism is a big market. The rate for a whole set of body parts is around 75,000 pounds ($1,03,695)
“The violence is largely met by social silence and indifference, and is seldom followed by investigations or the prosecution of perpetrators,” the OHCHR explains on its website. “While some investigation and prosecution seem to take place, sentencing appears to be rare. Victims face significant difficulties in bringing their cases to justice, fearing retaliatory attacks or further stigmatization.”
“It’s the first time the issues of witchcraft and human rights have been brought together in a systematic and in-depth manner at the UN and international level,” Lancaster University.
“The UN Special Resolution is an important step in helping to stop the, often horrific, human rights abuses that take place due to beliefs in witchcraft around the world,” they said in a press release on Wednesday.
“We needed as many governments as possible to support this Resolution and believe that our work inspired the action needed to do so.”
Witchcraft in India
India is no exception to such superstitious practices and beliefs, but this psyche practice is hidden in the different corners of the world including Asia and Africa after the 18th century. The idea of witchcraft and sorcery still exists in society. Both the educated and uneducated people, have time and again resorted to superstitious practices to cure illness, find love, and rationalize bad events.
Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Odisha are among the worst hit, each accounting for about 400 deaths in the past 15 years because of witchcraft atrocities.
Different states have made laws according to their need and convenience. There is an evident lack of coordination between these existing state enactments and the Indian Penal Code.