Central African Republic: witchcraft

An offence for locking up undesirables

< image © Valentin Lombardi.

Representations of witchcraft are very prevalent in Central African society. The penal code nevertheless criminalises certain practices of witchcraft and charlatanism. Accusations, charges and convictions for these offences are numerous. Vulnerable people are targeted over and over again: women in particular, especially those who are older and isolated. In late 2022, Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) and the Inanga consultancy and research organisation published a study on the instrumentalisation of this offence, as well as its social and legal consequences.1

Bruno Langhendries works at ASF, and Julien Moriceau at Inanga. Prison Insider asked them three questions.

— This article is part of the Caught in the spiral series.

  1. The completed study does not address the existence of witchcraft or its expressions; rather, it analyses the related offence as a social issue. 

Accusations are made with the objective of getting rid of vulnerable people, who are seen as undesirables.

The authorities show a marked disinterest in the issue and offer neither public nor parastatal assistance.