Pre-Announcement

Witchcraft allegations, refugee protection and human rights –
A course for lawyers and legal advisers
4 – 5 September 2010
Oxford, United Kingdom

On September 4-5, 2010, the UNHCR and the Fahamu Refugee Programme are organizing a course for lawyers and legal advisers on how to best represent those whose claims to asylum are based upon accusations of witchcraft.

The persecution of those accused of witchcraft is occurring today in communities around the globe. It is particularly prevalent in Africa. Startling accounts of torture, starvation, abandonment and death have been documented. Accused witches have been executed by hanging, drowning and burning, with paraffin or petrol thrown at them to ignite the fire. Its victims are often from vulnerable groups; the elderly, the disabled and increasingly over the past two decades, children.

The course aims to arm lawyers and legal advisers with the information, networks and resources they require to represent those accused of witchcraft.

It is because you have already been engaged in this area that we are sending you this pre-announcement with the hope that you will let us know of any cases that might be included in the course materials or of any other reports that we might find useful. We also hope that you will keep the date free to attend the course. We will send out more information about the course, including on how to register, closer to the time.

UNHCR and Fahamu Refugee Programme look forward to engaging with you in relation to this significant, emerging issue in refugee law.

For more information, please contact Kylie McGrath at MCGRATH@unhcr.org

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