As a surge in violent attacks against people with albinism in Malawi and elsewhere rages on, the UN has made a strong appeal to authorities to prevent attacks and bring to justice alleged perpetrators.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein Zeid said in statement issued Tuesday the attacks against people with albinism subject them to discrimination and social exclusion as they always live in fear for their lives.
“These attacks are often stunningly vicious, with children in particular being targeted,” Zeid said, “As a result, many people with albinism are living in abject fear. Some no longer dare to go outside, and children with albinism have stopped attending school because of the recent spate of assaults, murders and kidnappings.”
He said in the past six months, at least 15 people with albinism in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi were abducted, wounded, killed or subjected to attempted kidnappings, including three such incidents in the past week alone.
“In Malawi alone, at least six incidents have been reported in the first ten weeks of this year, compared to four incidents recorded over the previous two years. In Machinga District, in the south of the country, where several kidnappings and killings have taken place, groups of men are reported to be roaming around hunting for people with albinism,” says the statement.
The statement has documented for incidents in Malawi including the abduction of a 14-year-old girl during the night of 3-4 March, by two men from Kalombo village, in Machinga District, who managed to escape.
“The following night, a two-year-old boy called Chakupatsa Stanely was reportedly kidnapped in another village in Machinga called Murukhu. After the boy’s mother screamed for help one kidnapper was caught, but the other two escaped, possibly across the border into Mozambique and the child has now been reunited with his family”.
The statement also says the situation is also worse in Tanzania.
“Last Saturday (7 March), a six-year-old boy, Baraka Cosmas Rusambo, was attacked in his home in Kiseta village, in Sumbawanga district. The attackers fled with his right hand after cutting it off with a machete. Baraka and his mother, who suffered serious head injuries, are both in hospital. The police have moved Baraka’s two siblings, who also have albinism, to a safer place and have arrested seven suspects, including Baraka’s father.”
The UN Commissioner also said attacks against people with albinism are also taking place in Burundi, where 19 killings of people with albinism have been reported since 2008.
“The latest incident took place on 12 December 2014, when a man was found dead, with a leg hacked off. According to reports, 11 people have been arrested in relation to attacks against people with albinism in Burundi, of whom six escaped and one was convicted.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :