Malawi will, once again, join the international community in commemorating this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day whose theme is: “Together we can end human rights violations against persons with albinism.”
Speaking in Lilongwe at a press briefing, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Jean Kalilani said this year’s commemoration is meant to appeal to the general public to engage in constructive discussions in finding lasting solutions that would promote and protect persons with albinism, who are being increasingly discriminated by the day.
She said the commemoration is also meant to appeal to the general public to uphold the rights of persons with albinism and commence the implementation of the solutions that would uphold their rights.
“We have lived with persons with albinism in Malawi since time immemorial, they have always been a part of the Malawian society, but it is sad to note that myths and misconceptions about their condition have resulted into their discrimination and exclusion from our society.
“The country has been beset by a steady increase of physical abuse, abductions, killings and lately, exhumation of the remains of persons with albinism in a number of districts. This is a very sad situation, which has even limited the participation and contribution of persons with albinism to national development, even to their own right to enjoy life,” said Kalilani.
She further said the 2016 International Albinism Awareness Day hopes to lobby for funding for the implementation of recommendations towards addressing the current challenge and to recognize different efforts and contributions from various sectors; Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Government towards addressing the abductions, killings and exhumations of the remains of persons with albinism.
The minister explained that government would like to assure Malawians and the world at large that it has taken measures to address the atrocities committed against persons with albinism.
“My Ministry in conjunction with different stakeholders have developed a response plan to address the atrocities which identified six intervention areas, these are undertaking of education, awareness raising and training activities and strengthening of internal security.
“The undertaking of an investigative research including human rights monitoring and reporting activities, promotion of fair administration of justice and victim assistance and the empowerment of persons with albinism through Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM),” said Kalilani.
Speaking earlier UN Women Representative, Clara Anyangwe said the commemoration of the International Albinism Awareness Day offers an opportunity to dispel the myths that surround the individuals and enable them to exercise their inalienable human rights.
She said UN is pleased to see the establishment of a national technical committee under the Office of the President and Cabinet to bring together a cross section of actors with responsibility to promote and protect the rights of persons with albinism in the country.
“Persons with albinism should enjoy the right to life, free from deprivation, discrimination and fear. There is no room in this 21st Century for erroneous and harmful beliefs, or for discrimination on any grounds,” said Anyangwe.
Giving police commitment in the issue Deputy Director of Community Police at Police Headquarters, McLean Muguntha said the police has embarked on registering exercise for all persons with albinism in the country.
He said this is one way that would assist them have a clear data base of how many people with albinism are in the country.
The Deputy Director urged people in the country to work together with the police as police cannot work alone.
Muguntha said the police is working tirelessly to ensure that cases of albino abduction and killings are dealt with.
He said so far 30 cases have been completed, 17 cases are in court and 36 cases are under investigation.
This years’ commemoration will be held in Kasungu, at Kasungu Community Centre Ground on Monday, June 13, 2016.
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