According to the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network, there have been over 20,000 victims of accusations of witchcraft and related harmful practices over the last decade, spread across 60 countries.
The research, published in November 2020, includes reports of over 5,250 murders, 60 disappearances in suspicious circumstances, and 14,700 attempted killings and physical attacks. While Papua New Guinea suffers disproportionately from the phenomenon, many parts of Africa and India also have high rates. Wealthier countries in the west are affected too.
In 2019 the number of children known to have been abused in England as a result of beliefs in witchcraft and possession was reported to have risen by a third in two years, with almost 2,000 identified victims. And this may be only the tip of the iceberg. Irrespective of where it takes place, these crimes are often hidden due to ignorance, shame and stigma, making comprehensive figures extremely difficult to generate.
Emerging data, however, paint a disturbing picture of an ongoing, widespread and systemic form of violence that takes many different forms, depending on the part of the world.
Continue reading @ New Humanist.