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International Statute of Secrecy

International Statute of Secrecy

The International Statute of Secrecy is a wizarding law which was instituted in 1689 (TBB/WHP) and put fully into effect in 1692 (JKR/W3) in order to hide the existence of witches and wizards from the Muggles who persecuted them. This law was at least in part a direct outcome of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93 in Massachusetts Colony of North America (Pm), although many also cite the delegation of wizards who went to the British monarchs William and Mary circa 1690 asking for but failing to get protection of the wizarding population under Muggle law (JKR/W3).

The International Confederation of Wizards held a summit in 1692 at which were worked out the details and responsibilities for each country’s wizard government under the new law. It was decided that each Ministry of Magic would be responsible for magical sports in their own country. This led to the formation of the Department of Magical Games and Sports in Britain (QA5). Magical creatures native to each respective country were also to be protected and in most cases, concealed. Twenty-seven species of magical beasts, beings, and spirits were to be hidden from Muggle knowledge (FB). The Statute also includes guidelines for dress, which state what wizards should wear in order to avoid discovery (Pm).

The Statute resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Magic in Britain in 1692. This was also the year that the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA) was founded with the main goal of hunting down the Scourers who turned over witches and wizards to the Puritan judges (Pm).

In 1750, Clause 73 was added to the Statute, strengthening the requirement that each Ministry would be responsible for the concealment of magical creatures within its territory or face sanction from the ICW (FB).

  • Ralston Potter, a member of the Wizengamot, supported the institution of the Statute (Pm).
  • The Malfoy family, who associated with Muggle aristocracy and royalty, opposed the signing of the Statute (Pm).
  • Clause 73 of the Statute was breached in 1932 when a Welsh Green dragon landed on a Devon beach in what has come to be called the Ilfracombe incident (FB).
  • Carlotta Pinkstone famously campaigned to repeal the Statute, and was arrested several times for breaching it (FW).
  • In 1790, a North American witch named Dorcus Twelvetrees made a serious breach when she confided secret information to a No-Maj Scourer named Bartholomew Barebone. She told him not only about the existence of MACUSA and the International Confederation of Wizards, but the location of Ilvermorney School. Barebone stole her wand and showed it off to the press, and called for No-Maj persecution of magical folk. Due to his actions, President Elizabeth Rappaport of MACUSA instated "Rappaport's Law" which completely segregated witches and wizards from the No-Maj, and remained the law of the land until repealed in 1965 (Pm).
  • When Newt Scamander visited New York City in 1926 and allowed some of his magical beasts to escape, it was considered a serious breach of the Statute. Also he allowed a No-Maj, Jacob Kowalski, to view the creatures and even go inside his magic case (WFT).
  • Newt and Tina Goldstein were falsely accused of breaking the Statute of Secrecy by conspiring to unleash a dangerous Obscurus from the suitcase, but they escaped execution in the Death Cell at MACUSA. In reality, there was an Obscurial already in New York who was killing No-Majs and destroying buildings (WFT).
  • Evil mastermind Gellert Grindelwald disguised himself as Auror Percival Graves in order to track down the Obscurial who was wreaking havoc on New York in 1926. He wanted to break both the Statute of Secrecy and Rappaport's Law to show the superior power of wizards over the No-Maj (WFT).
  • The wizards and witches attending the Quidditch World Cup in 1993 were supposed to wear Muggle clothing in case they were seen, and Muggle-Repelling Charms were put on the stadium and campground (GF6, GF7). The Death Eaters broke the Statute by torturing the Muggle Robertson family, who had to be obliviated to forget it (GF9).


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