By Emily Neutron, Fourth Year, Ravenclaw
The most recent issue of the Daily Prophet has announced that the Werewolf Registration Act has been reinstated by the Minister of Magic, our own former Headmistress, Hannah Fischer, in concert with the Wizengamot. All werewolves must now register with the Ministry of Magic or be arrested and sent to Azkaban until they do register. It is unclear why a werewolf would have to remain in Azkaban after having been identified as a werewolf: ostensibly the Ministry would then have all the information that would go into the Registry. But sometimes the inner workings of the Wizarding government of the United Kingdom might seem impervious to rational examination: after all, this is the same bunch that tried to enact laws about hat pointiness, among other ridiculous things.
Either way, the threat of Azkaban should be enough to tell all werewolves how terribly serious the Registry is. Even anyone who has been bitten and injured, and is at risk to be infected, must likewise register. Werewolves of age must provide proof that their condition is not a danger to the public; underage werewolves are handled by the school. Furthermore, all werewolves must attend regular consultations with the Beast Division at the Ministry of Magic. Failure to attend these meetings could, as with failure to register, result in incarceration at Azkaban. Werewolves are forbidden to be in public during a full moon. If a werewolf causes injury, harm or death to any person, that werewolf will be imprisoned or executed.
So there you have it, fellow students: depending on one’s point of view, the Ministry has either finally taken long-overdue action on the critical werewolf threat hanging over Hogwarts, or they have just substantially and dangerously restricted the rights of an entire class of people because of the actions of a single individual.
Let there be no mistake: untreated werewolves are a serious danger to themselves and to the entire community. Getting them the wolvesbane they need every month is essential to keeping them and those around them safe. To the degree that the Registry could facilitate this, it might be considered a positive change in Wizarding Law. But we have seen the likes of this Registry before: it was originally passed in 1947, and so abused and ineffective that it was eventually rescinded.
Unless great changes have been made in how the Registry is administered, the Ministry has at best threatened the freedoms of law-abiding, harmless werewolves for the sake of a potentially ineffectual law that serves merely to grant the illusion of safety, and to distract from the real threat of an aggressive werewolf at Hogwarts. At worst, they have laid the foundation for the systematic persecution of werewolves and other minority groups of the Wizarding World, much as the Muggle-Born Registration Commission did thirty years ago. Minority Magical Rights groups are already reacting to the new registry with a furor, lodging complaints and signing petitions against it.
Recently, the Ministry’s presence at Hogwarts was greatly supplemented: Mr. Lucifer Gillespie of the Beast Division has now been joined by a group of Aurors. They even have their own office to facilitate their investigation. The students of Hogwarts can only hope that these fine examples of Wizarding valour and honour can bring the current situation to a swift conclusion, and that the Ministry’s better angels are guiding them all.