Global Panorama

A study coordinated by the Brazilian political scientist, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiros, presented to the UN in 2006, maps the violence against children in 130 countries in the world.

“It’s a horrible thing to shed babies’ blood in the name of tradition”, says Boni Goura, a social anthropologist of the Baatonou people, who works together with other social activists with the objective of abolishing the practice of infanticide in Benin.

Newborns with some kind of physical deficiency become a burden in Central and West Africa. In these cases, the family decreases their level of care and when the baby dies, everyone feels relieved. In India, the preference of boys leads to pregnant women having abortions if they discover that they are pregnant with a girl. The girls eat what is left over from the plates of their brothers. Less nourished, they become sick more and are the last to be helped by the health system.

Sensitive children or dreamers run risks in places such as Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria and Liberia. They are identified as holders of demonic powers, blamed for accidents or misfortunes and are taken to rehabilitation centers.

In Benin, it doesn’t take a lot for a child to be sentenced to death. It’s enough for the child to be born feet first, shoulders first or bottom first. If the head comes out first, but the face is looking downwards, if the mother dies during the birth or if the child’s teeth haven’t come through before 8 months, the child will be killed.

This happens in front of the parents, who have to pay for the service. There are records of mothers who have fled and gone into hiding with their babies, fearing execution.

Source: The Map of Violence Against Children in the World, Cláudia Magazine, April Edition, October 2006; Fears of Witchcraft fuel infanticide in Benin, Mail & Guardian online, July 2005, Benin

Home | News | Infanticide | The victims | Act now | Documentary | Contact | © 2008 Hakani - All Rights Reserved

© 2008 Hakani - All Rights Reserved