Launch 2012 advocacy against witch-hunts

LAUNCH: 2012 – 30 days of advocacy against witch-hunts (29 March to 27 April)

An open letter to:

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural,
Religious and Linguistic Communities
– Commissioner Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva

Parliamentary Officer for the Commission on Gender Equality
– Adv. Kamraj Anirudhra

Deputy Chairperson, South African Human Rights Commission
– Dr. Pregaluxmi Govender

Chairperson of SAHRC and Deputy Chairperson of the African HRC
– Adv. Mabedle Lawrence Mushwana

c/o Deputy Director: Legal Services Programme
– Mr. Eric Mokonyama

28 March 2012


At the launch of this year’s ’30 days of advocacy against witch-hunts’ campaign (29 March to 27 April), this Alliance would like to extend its gratitude to Commissioner Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, for her commitment to ending accusations of witchcraft and violent witch-hunts in South Africa.

The Commissioner has confirmed her commitment by undertaking to launch the ’30 Days’ campaign in Maupye (Limpopo), one of three identified refugee villages occupied by South African citizens who have been falsely accused of either being witches or of engaging in witchcraft.

On behalf of this Alliance, I once again appeal to the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission for Gender Equality to give their unwavering support to Commissioner Mkhwanazi-Xaluva and the Commission during this period.

To this end, I wish to remind all parties hereto of a previous commitment undertaken by government and civil society in 1998. Find below a copy of a declaration undersigned by the Commission on Gender Equality in 1998, entitled ‘The Thohoyandou Declaration on Ending Witchcraft Violence’. I would draw your attention to the fact that none of the noble recommendations made in this wonderful declaration were ever implemented by the Commission for Gender Equality.

I hope that this year’s advocacy campaign will indeed receive the full support of this government and other relevant Chapter 9 institutions without further hesitation, and that *suggested recommendations contained within this declaration will be reviewed and implemented without further delay.

* suggested recommendations

a. halt the persecution of suspected or accused witches,
b. uphold and strengthen a culture of human rights for all equally,
c. respond appropriately and humanely to incidences of accusations of witchcraft,
d. make the eradication of violence against suspected witches an international priority,
e. train local police to manage witchcraft accusations and violent witch-hunts in a way that affirms the dignity and humanity of those accused of practising witchcraft,
f. create victim support units to facilitate reintegration and conciliation of those accused,
g. adopt comprehensive public education and awareness programmes aimed at eradicating the real causes of witchcraft accusations, and
h. reform legislation that currently seeks to suppress witchcraft or criminalize accused witches.

The Thohoyandou Declaration on Ending Witchcraft Violence


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