U.S. Congress Launches Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa
MONROVIA – United States House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee has announced the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations will convene a hearing entitled, “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa” on Tuesday, September 19th.
In a release issued by the Foreign Affair Committee, the hearing under the theme “Hearing – “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa,” will take place on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023 and will be chaired by the Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Chris Smith ((R-Manchester, N.J.)
According to the release, some of the witnesses include Dr. Alan White, Co-Executive Director, Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights and the former chief investigator for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager at World Hope International, and Obed Byamugisha Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries.
The hearing comes amid reports of an increase in ritual abuse and sacrifice on the African Continent.
Witchcraft is deeply rooted in many cultures and communities in sub-Saharan Africa, and is a powerful influence in the lives of millions. In some countries, witchcraft and associated traditional beliefs are interlinked and deeply valued. Sadly, these beliefs and values spill over into unspeakable physical and psychological violence against a large segment of the population, mainly children, women and the elderly.
Every year, thousands of children are accused of witchcraft and suffer ritual abuse and attacks, crimes “hidden in plain sight”. Children with albinism are at much higher risk. Many governments look away, despite being signatories to the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child and the UN’s convention on the rights of the child.
In some communities, children are subjected to physical and psychological violence, including public humiliation and forced confessions, torture, violent beatings, traditional “cleansing” medicines, expulsion from home and community, and – in extreme cases – murder. The impacts on mental health – including isolation, neglect, bullying, victimization and poor self-esteem – can be lifelong and life-threatening.
In Liberia, ritualistic killing is widespread. In May this year, a group of students walking to school in Paynesville discovered a child’s severed body wrapped in a cloth lying in a drainage. Police announced it launched an investigation but did not say anyone was arrested in connection to the crime.
In some parts of Africa, people with albinism are hunted for their body parts.
Human Rights activists have welcome Congress’ move and are hoping that substantive recommendations will be made to the U.S. Government to prevail on these countries to do more to protect its citizens from ritual abuse and sacrifice in Africa.