March 8, 2022
International Women’s day: Gender and witchcraft in the Central African Republic, fighting discrimination against women and children
Central African Republic (the)NewsWomen's rights
In the Central African Republic, the prosecution of people suspected of witchcraft and charlatanism, which frequently leads to serious human rights violations, systematically impacts women and children. This must be examined from a gender-based violence perspective.
Anti-sorcery violence has been specifically highlighted in several international reports monitoring human rights violations, which point to the fact that the Central African State is failing in its duty to protect citizens, in particular girls and women accused of witchcraft and charlatanism who are succeptible to be subjected to violence, sometimes leading to death, by armed groups or groups of individuals.
In this respect, experience shows that such violence is rooted in structural inequalities and patterns of patriarchal domination against women and certain categories of vulnerable people. This type of violence is therefore a consequence of social and cultural norms that impede the realisation of the rights of women and minors.
With its Central African partners, and thanks to joint funding from the European Union and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ASF is committed to promoting respect for procedural guarantees and access to justice for women and minors (particularly those accused of witchcraft and charlatanism), by taking sustainable action to reduce gender inequalities.
Three areas of intervention work together to achieve this objective:
- Legal empowerment, which considers people as full actors in the realisation of their rights and integrates different mechanisms
- Legal representation and remedies based on the law and respectful of the rights of women and children
- Engagement of institutional actors in the adoption of reforms and practices that are consistent with women’s rights, including on issues of witchcraft and charlatanism. This axis is complementary to the previous ones in order to bring influence and advocacy actions based on the realities on the ground.
These actions contribute to making the specific needs of gender-based violence (GBV) victims and potentially affected groups visible and to amplifying the voice of those affected in order to encourage the adoption and implementation of reforms that sustainably address gender inequalities and human rights violations of those prosecuted for witchcraft and charlatanism.