Convicted without Evidence: Elderly Women and Witchcraft Accusations in Contemporary Nigeria
Author(s)Eboiyehi, Friday A.
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AbstractConcern about persecution of person(s) accused of witchcraft practices has long been recognized as a major issue in sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria, the persecution of elderly women suspected to be witches is predominantly widespread, and has been identified as one of the most important obstacle to the attainment of the December, 1993 Declaration of the UN General Assembly on elimination of violence against women on the continent. Torturing and various forms of violence against elderly women accused of witchcraft without evidence against them implies major infringements of their fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Despite this and other similar instruments, persecution of elderly women suspected of witchcraft remains unabated in Nigeria. Furthermore, there is little scholarly work and insufficient government policies in Nigeria to address this issue. This paper is an attempt to bridge this gap.