Being burned alive by your community for accusations of witchcraft is something that’s hard to imagine in present day, but a Paraguayan woman was recently just one of many yearly victims of the practice around the world.
Members of the local indigenous Mbyá tribe shot arrows at a local woman while she was tied to a wooden pole, then subsequently burned her alive. The 45-year-old woman — Adolfina Ocampos — was a resident of Taheyi, a village around 180 miles north of Paraguay’s capital city Asunción.
The chief of Ocampos’ locality ordered the fiery execution of the woman accused of witchcraft last week. A local prosecutor, Fany Aguilera, has heaped first-degree murder charges on nine Mbyá tribesmen — all of whom admit openly to having burned the Paraguayan woman alive, according to the Associated Press.
The practice of burning women alive or otherwise killing them because suspicions of witchcraft is far from isolated to Paraguay — more than 41 African and Asian countries have documented use of literal witch hunts being carried out against older women, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, and Tanzania. While all ages are at risk, women of a higher age range are especially targeted by these communities, according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“I call on Member States to enact and enforce stronger laws and strategies to address all aspects of this under-acknowledged social, public health and human rights issue.”
The UN Refugees Agency believes that thousands of purported witches suffer from such accusations annually. The same report stated that violent sexual and physical abuse, rejection from their families, and occasionally bloody murder occur as a result of the charges levied against them. The Paraguayan woman’s tale is extremely graphic, but not as much so as the brutal practices taking place in Kenya.
Be forewarned that the video below is extremely disturbing — several women accused of witchcraft are savagely beaten before being burned alive in a fire that they repeatedly crawl out of and are thrown back into.
Visit this link to see the video in question.
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) recently reported women being accused of witchcraft and burned alive, or otherwise destroyed for it, is one of the key issues making up the elder abuse problem across the globe — but witchcraft accusations aren’t the only horrific threat that face this particularly at-risk female age group. Neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and financial abuse or exploitation are problems that the UN is currently working to address.
[Image via Flickr]