The latest incident in the spreading number of witch hunts occurred last week when a 45 year old woman was burned alive at the stake after she was accused of practicing witchcraft in the nation of Paraguay.
The victim, Adolfina Ocampos, was sentenced to death by the local chief of the Mbya Guarani community after local villagers accused her of being involved with sorcery. The villagers tortured her, submerged her under water and beat her before they tied her to the stake, then shot her with several arrows, finally burning her alive in the gruesome display of violence. So far local authorities have arrested 9 men in the village in connection with Ocampos's murder and all readily confessed to killing the accused witch with little remorse saying that they are "not sorry" according to at least one report.
Ocampo was first targeted as a witch when the relative of one of the village's leaders took ill. They blamed the prolonged illness on Ocampo, accused her of being a witch and banished her from the village for one month. When the relative did not improve, the village chief condemned Ocampo to death believing that she was responsible for the prolonged illness by practicing witchcraft.
This latest witch hunt occurred in the village of Tahehyi, which is about 180 miles north of Asuncion, Paraguay's capital. According to at least one report from the Irish Mirror, another 14-year-old girl was also being held and tortured as an accused witch and was rescued from the village during the investigation.
Incidents of violence against accused witches are on the rise around the world with reoccurring incidents frequently seen in India, various nations in Africa and other parts of the world. Growing concern that negative portrayals of witches in the media could also spark attacks of violence in the United States have been reignited by a recent Oklahoma murder of Jacob Andrew Crockett in which he was nearly beheaded by Isaiah Zoar Marin because he practiced witchcraft.
Violence targeting accused witches has become such a severe problem that the United Nations has raised several concerns about the future of such refugees and human rights violations that have resulted from the modern day witch hunts. "Startling accounts of torture, starvation, abandonment and death have been documented," states a research paper on the issue of witch hunts from the UN Refugee Agency entitled Witchcraft Allegations, Refugee Protection and Human Rights: a Review of the Evidence.
The 43 page report authored by Jill Schnoebelen shows the rising concern over these modern day witch hunts and urges the need to raise public awareness "that the phenomenon of witch persecution is still very much alive,| so that "those in the refugee field may be better prepared to pre-empt or respond to the associated violence and provide protection as needed."
[Image: History Extra]