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Elderly Malawians stoned to death over witchcraft allegations


ACTION • YATO combats violence against elderly people


November 2020 || Malawi’s Youth Acting Together [YATO] protest mob justices against elderly people ‘suspected’ of practicing witchcraft.

elderly rights - malawi - violence - witchcraft

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Over the past few weeks, violent crimes against elderly people ‘suspected’ of practicing witchcraft in Malawi have increased. Last month, an elderly woman as well as an elderly man, were stoned to death in the Dezda district. Activists hold the police accountable for failing to deal with violent aggressors.


These incidents show that, because of a continuous failure by law enforcement agencies to prosecute those who accuse older men and women of practicing witchcraft, Malawians took the law into their own hands by administering mob justice.

Malawi’s active youth organization Youth Acting Together [YATO] decided to stand up against this violence against the elderly people. On the 25th of November, they held a demonstration to pressure the Malawi Police Service to take these violent crimes more seriously and immediately arrest and prosecute every person involved in mob justice. Next to that, they filed a warning to the public against taking laws into their own hands.

According to Malawi’s Witchcraft Act of 1911, witchcraft doesn’t exist and states that it is an offence to accuse anyone of practising witchcraft. In addition, the 2016 National Policy for Older Persons recognises the duty of the State to protect their rights. Now that the State failed take this responsibility, YATO aims to reinforce these laws by speaking out.

The youth activists fight injustices on many different issues since 2016. They stand up for the rights of poor and marginalized populations by ensuring that their rights are fully protected and promoted. In the past, Het Actiefonds successfully supported several of their direct actions.