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Umunna: Branding of children as witches must stop

MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna has condemned branding of children as witches and said there can be “no excuse whatsoever” for witchcraft abuse.

Mr. Umunna made the remarks following the sentencing of Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi for the murder of Kristy Bamu.

Kristy was murdered on Christmas Day 2010 by Bamu and her partner Bikubi, who suspected the 15 year old of practising witchcraft. He was found drowned in the bathtub of the couple’s flat in Newham in East London after being subjected to four days of extreme violence and torture.

On 5th March 2012 Bikubi was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years while Bamu will serve 25 years for Kristy’s murder.

“Our hearts go out to Kristy Bamu’s family at this difficult time,” Mr. Umunna said. “This terrible case highlights the vital responsibility we have to protect children in our communities facing accusations of witchcraft. Children branded as witches or accused of being possessed by evil spirits, can face some of the worst abuses and neglect imaginable, as in the tragic case of Kristy Bamu, including torture and death.”

Mr. Umunna said the community must stand up against branding of children as witches. “We must send out a very strong message that there can be no excuse whatsoever for treating children in this way, branding them as witches or as possessed by evil spirits, and that if you carry out these awful acts the strong arm of the law will be brought to bear on you.”

Mr. Umunna’s constituency of Streatham, is one of the three constituencies representing Brixton, an area with one of the largest African Diaspora populations in the UK.

As the only black member of either the Cabinet or the Shadow Cabinet and as the most senior elected UK politician of African origin,  AFRUCA has asked Mr. Umunna to host a Parliamentary summit on branding of African children as witches in the UK on 18th April 2012.

AFRUCA is a charity promoting the rights and welfare of African children in the UK.

The summit will bring together community leaders, politicians and policymakers in order to look at what needs to be done to end the abuse and loss of life of young people of African origin, something Mr. Umunna said was currently happening “under the radar in this country”.
 

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