Witchcraft and Human Rights conference

Last week saw a multi-agency conference in Lancaster on Witchcraft and Human Rights. This event followed on from the 2017 UN workshop on the same subject. Several members and supporters of SCWA were present, including BCT’s Carolyn Gent, who presented on the Church’s role in addressing accusations of witchcraft against children.

Carolyn tells us:

‘The conference offered a real range of presentations, including academic research papers and practitioner reports. There was also lots of discussion, great networking opportunities, and chances to meet people who are engaging with witchcraft accusations against both adults and children, and with other human rights issues related to witchcraft. It was an exciting two days with a real sense of momentum and energy behind the issue.

‘What was really obvious was the increasing understanding of the fact that the Church needs to be at the centre of at least part of the response to the phenomenon. It was great to hear people from other parts of the world talking about how some of the most successful interventions have been by pastors and other church leaders. It’s so encouraging to see a real shift in thinking on that. There’s a real sense of excitement about the work of SCWA in particular – it’s been singled out as a beacon of hope in demonstrating that change is possible from within the Church. Our resources and our model are being picked up by other groups. It’s absolutely the case that the Church is implicated in child witch accusations – that’s a matter of real concern to us and to others – but the fact that we are able to show how the Church is actively engaging in changing the story has been a real breakthrough in this conference.

‘I also had some really good conversations with people working in other parts of world, and it was great to reconnect with Dr Bob Priest and Dr Opoku Onyinah, who are such fantastic supporters for our work and highly regarded as experts on the issue.

‘All in all, it’s been a really good two days. Thank you so much for your prayers. God is very good!’

Find out more about SCWA’s work to prevent witchcraft-related abuse against children, and why this work is so important.


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