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Nigeria introduces law to protect 'witch' children

Nigeria has introduced a law to protect children from being accused of witchcraft and sorcery.

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Children protest after being branded as witches in the southern Nigerian city of Eket, Akwa Ibom State, on Feb. 26, 2009. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigeria's Akwa Ibom state has introduced legislation that would make accusing children of witchcraft illegal, according to Al Jazeera

In the past, zealous church ministers have ostracized children from their communities by labeling them witches. The children become pariahs, often suffering brutal treatment. In some cases, young children are abandoned. 

But the state, and Nigerian groups like the non-governmental organization Child's Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), have given refuge to the so-called "witch children." 

Speaking to GlobalPost back in January, Sam Itauma of CRARN, said “So many people here believe that children can be possessed by demons that there is rarely any action taken against those who claim to deliver the children in violent exorcisms."

But now it appears Nigeria has taken a serious step forward.    

 More from GlobalPost: Nigeria's "witch children" find refuge at center

Al Jazeera reports:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/121101/nigeria-introduces-law-protect-witch-children