Hexbyte Glen Cove Team takes steps toward historic United Nations Resolution to stamp out witchcraft atrocities thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Team takes steps toward historic United Nations Resolution to stamp out witchcraft atrocities

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A team, including Lancaster University academics, have taken the first crucial steps to stamp out the worldwide atrocities of witchcraft, including ritual killings, with the successful acceptance of a United Nations Resolution.

Passed without a vote, the Resolution, which has been several years in the making, was tabled this month at the UN Human Rights Council by Kenya, with the support of the Africa group, composed of 54 Member States from the African continent.

Witchcraft-related beliefs and practices have resulted in serious violations of human rights including beatings, banishment, cutting of body parts, and amputation of limbs, torture and murder.

Women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities including people with albinism, a genetic disorder that impairs the ability to create pigment in the body, are particularly vulnerable.

Professor Charlotte Baker, of Lancaster University, who has published widely on albinism in Africa together with UN Independent Expert on Albinism Ikponwosa Ero, international human rights barrister Kirsty Brimelow and Lancaster University honorary graduate and human rights advocate Gary Foxcroft have worked tirelessly, as part of a wider team, to ensure the extent of the shocking issue was heard at UN level.

The Resolution, in calling for the elimination of these harmful practices, affirms that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security and upholds the fundamental principles of equality, non-discrimination and human dignity that underpin human rights.

There are thousands of cases of people accused of witchcraft each year globally, often with fatal consequences, and others are mutilated and killed for witchcraft-related rituals.

In the last decade, more than 700 attacks on people with albinism have been reported in 28 countries.

Trade in body parts of people with albinism is big business in certain African countries with a “going rate” of $75,000 for a full set of body parts.

Professor Baker and the team first brought their work to the attention of the UN in September 2017 when they organized a Witchcraft and Human Rights Expert Meeting at UN headquarters in Geneva.

The workshop, which was cited specifically in the recent successful Resolution address, examined for the first time the large-scale human rights issue that had, by and large, slipped under the radar of governments, NGOs and academics.

The following year the team organized a powerfully moving and shocking photographic exhibition, funded by Lancaster University, at the Palais des Nations at UN headquarters in Geneva to coincide with the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

The exhibition, which subsequently traveled internationally, featured poignant images captured by four internationally-renowned human rights photographers.

In January 2019 the team organized an international conference on Witchcraft and Human Rights at Lancaster University to further highlight the grave human rights abuses taking place around the world due to beliefs in witchcraft.

The conference looked at witchcraft and human rights past, present and future, and in particular discussed the thorny question of terminology.

In numerous countries, witchcraft-related beliefs, which can lead to some of the most challenging human rights issues of the 21st century, have resulted in serious violations of human rights including, beatings, banishment, the cutting of body parts, amputation of limbs, being set on fire, torture and murder.

Women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, including people with albinism, are particularly vulnerable.

Despite the seriousness of these human rights abuses, there is often no robust state-led response and, often, judicial systems do not act to prevent, investigate or prosecute human rights abuses linked to beliefs in witchcraft.

The ground-breaking move to bring this Resolution to the UN brings together, for the first time, witchcraft and human rights in a systematic and in-depth manner at the UN and international level.

The Resolution marks an important step in the continued collaboration of UN Experts, members of civil society and academics to tackle the violence associated with such beliefs and practices for groups that are particularly vulnerable.

Professor Baker said, “The extent of the threat to people vulnerable to harmful practices related to the manifestation of certain witchcraft-related beliefs means that we must act now to tackle this issue. Our collaborative approach means that we can work across sectors and at different levels to achieve positive, integrated and lasting change. The UN Resolution is a fundamental milestone in this process.”

Ikponwosa Ero added, “The carefully balances protecting the human rights of those accused of witchcraft and victims of ritual attacks, while also protecting traditional healers, along with the religious, indigenous and cultural beliefs and practices that do not amount to harmful practices as defined by UN bodies.

“Resolutions are not magic bullets, but this one is a key turning point for all of us working to ensure human rights protection in this complex sphere of spiritual beliefs and practices. The resolution will also spur the work to combat the horrendous violence which characterize these types of harmful practices and which, for too long, have destroyed and taken too many lives.”

Gary Foxcroft said, “The UN Special Resolution is an important step in helping to stop the often horrific abuses that take place due to beliefs in witchcraft around the world. We needed as many governments as possible to support this Resolution and believe that our work inspired the action needed to do so. Much more remains to be done following this Resolution. However, we are moving forward in the right direction and there is hope that more abuses can be prevented.”


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Hexbyte Glen Cove Key steps discovered in production of critical immune cell thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Key steps discovered in production of critical immune cell

Hexbyte Glen Cove

dendritic cells stained by PS100 was found in corneal epithelium. Credit: Zhiguo.he

WEHI researchers have uncovered a process cells use to fight off infection and cancer that could pave the way for precision cancer immunotherapy treatment.

Through gaining a better understanding of how this process works, researchers hope to be able to determine a way of tailoring immunotherapy to better fight .

Led by Dr. Dawn Lin and Dr. Shalin Naik and published in Nature Cell Biology, the research provides new insight into the way cells adapt to fight .

This research lays the foundation for future studies into the body’s response to environmental stressors, such as injury, infection or cancer, at a single cell level.

Flt3L hormone plays vital role in fighting off infection

Dendritic cells are that activate ‘killer’ T cells, which are vital for clearing viral infections, such as COVID-19, but also for triggering a response to cancers such as melanoma and bowel cancer.

The Flt3L hormone can increase dendritic cell numbers, helping the immune system to fight off cancer and infection.

Dr. Naik and his team studied developing immune cells at a single cell level to gain a deeper understanding of how the body uses these cells to trigger immune responses.

“There is one type of dendritic cell that the body uses to fight some infections and cancer. The Flt3L hormone increases numbers of this particular dendritic cell. We know quite well how the dendritic cell fights the cancer, but we don’t know how the Flt3L hormone increases the numbers of those dendritic cells,” he said

Single-cell barcoding provides vital clues to how dendritic cells function

Researchers used a single-cell ‘barcoding’ technique to uncover what happened when dendritic cells multiplied.

“By using cellular barcoding—where we insert short synthetic DNA sequences, we call barcodes inside cells—we were able to determine which cells produced dendritic cells in pre-clinical models,” Dr. Naik said.

“As a result of this research, we now better understand the actions of the Flt3L hormone that is currently used in cancer immunotherapy trials, and how it naturally helps the body fight cancer and infection. This is a first step to design better precision immunotherapy treatments for cancer.”

Using single cell technology to improve immunotherapy treatment

This research answers a 50-year-long question as to what causes a stem cell to react in response to immense stress, such as infection or inflammation.

“We have known that the Flt3L hormone increases the number of for decades but now there is a focus on applying this knowledge to cancer immunotherapy and potentially to infection immunotherapy as well,” Dr. Naik said.

“The next stage in our research is to create ‘dendritic cell factories’ using our new knowledge, to produce millions to billions of these infection fighting and then use those in immunotherapy treatments.”

“These findings are a vital first step to improving treatments for patients, to help them better fight cancer and infection.”



More information:
Dawn S. Lin et al. Single-cell analyses reveal the clonal and molecular aetiology of Flt3L-induced emergency dendritic cell development, Nature Cell Biology (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41556-021-00636-7

Citation:
Key steps discovered in production of critical immune cell (2021, March 2)
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from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-key-production-critical-immune-cell.html

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