On May 26, 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will question representatives of the Nigerian government on Nigeriaâ€™s 3rd and 4th periodic report into childrenâ€™s rights in Nigeria.
This report described the state of childrenâ€™s rights in Nigeria and provided information on the ways in which the government has been attempting to address problems and areas of weakness.
A list of pre-sessional questions drawn up by the CRC identified a number of priority areas regarding the protection of childrenâ€™s rights in Nigeria.
These include child labour, education, HIV/AIDS and harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, as well as the broader detrimental effects that poverty and corruption have on childrenâ€™s rights.
The negative impact that child witchcraft accusations have on childrenâ€™s rights in Nigeria was also identified as a key challenge by the CRC.
Although the Nigerian state report did not identify human rights abuses resulting from child witchcraft stigmatisation to be a problem, this issue was brought to the attention of the CRC by the child rights organisation Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN).
The various ways in which child witchcraft stigmatisation has a negative effect on childrenâ€™s human rights in Nigeria were detailed by SSN in their Shadow Report to the CRC in 2009.
It is expected that the CRC will now require the Nigerian government to explain the various measures that it will take to eliminate violations of childrenâ€™s rights, including witchcraft-related abuse.
Through its Concluding Observations on Nigeria, which will be issued in mid-June, the CRC will identify both the main challenges regarding the protection of childrenâ€™s rights in Nigeria, and what the Nigerian government is expected to do in order to address these problems.
Child rights campaigners have welcomed the focus on child witchcraft in Nigeria by the CRC.