Nigeria: Witchcraft Question Asked by Baroness Goudie on November 25th, 2010 at the House of Lords To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of recent reports of an increase in intimidation and harassment of non-governmental organisations working to defend the rights of children accused of witchcraft in Nigeria, what steps they are taking to ensure the safety of such non-governmental organisations.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Non-governmental organisations, such as Stepping Stones Nigeria, continue to carry out important work to protect, and defend the rights of children stigmatised as witches and wizards. Since hearing worrying reports of intimidation of such organisations, our high commissioner in Abuja has written to the governor of Akwa Ibom state to stress the need to ensure protection of non-governmental organisations operating there. Our high commissioner also reminded the state governor of his upholding responsibilities in the respect of the rights of the child. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has in the past worked closely with Stepping Stones Nigeria and other organisations to lobby the Nigerian Government to address the issue of child witchcraft. Our high commission in Abuja has worked in partnership with the UN Children's Fund and the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons to change perceptions about so-called witchcraft and reduce the rate of child abandonment, torture and trafficking.