UN  women, Malawi police fight for rights of people with albinism

Malawi Police Service (MPS) says it has jacked up its efforts to  completely  stump out abuses and violation of the Rights of people with albinism.

Polic officer Suwedi: North safe now

The commitment was sounded Wednesday by Commissioner of Police for the Northern Region,  Martha Suwedi when she received a donation of  assorted items from  United Nations Women (UN women), to be distributed to people with Albinism and community policing forums, at a ceremony held at Rufita Trading Centre, in the area of Chief Mwaulambia, in Chitipa District.

She said her office was so shocked,   not long time ago, with the escalating waves of attacks, killings and exhumation of the remains of people with Albinism, a situation she said forced her office to spring to action  in rescue of targeted  minority   group.

Suwedi, however, said her region, which registered 8 cases of  attacks on people with Albinism, is again becoming  a safe heaven  for  people with Albinism, attributing the conducive environment on a number of strategies her office is implementing, in full collaboration with stakeholders in combating the vice.

“As Police Service, we have lined up a number of strategies  in sniffing and tracking  criminals hatching clandestine motives against people with Albinism which are spiced with intensified awareness campaigns on the need to promote and protect the rights of people with Albinism,  right at family and community levels, where at times discrimination originates  from” said Suwedi.

The Northern Region has officially registered 154 people with Albinism, on whom, seriously committed woman , Suwedi has sworn and  made a strong vow never to lose one, at all cost, unless through natural causes and not    through acts of chilling  brutality and  immorality.

Suwedi,  to a larger extent, also attributed fast reduction of attacks on people with Albinism  in the region on commitment and  coordination among members of the community, led by their patriotic and passionate traditional leaders, Human Rights affiliated NGOS, such as UN Women and well empowered members from community policing forums, who she said work round the clock to alleviate the plight of people with Albinism.

The Regional Commissioner then thanked UN Women in a special way for the donation, which she described as crucial and  timely.

She said UN Women was a true partner to police in promoting the welfare of people with Albinism.

Suwedi added that much as her office appreciates  the noble duty discharged by  community policing forums, it fails to provide necessary equipment and tools and  motivation  to the forum members for their smooth operation, due to limited resources.

The  safety and security gear donation included  solar torches, hats, bicycles, umbrellas, reflector jackets, whistles, road-block sign posts and assorted stationery.

“The donation is a big incentive to members of community policing forums in their task to provide maximum security to their brothers and sisters with Albinism.” Said Suwedi.

The Regional Police Boss then asked NGOs  and people of Good intention to pluck a leaf from UN Women’s gesture in forwarding aid towards promotion of the welfare of people with Albinism.

An  official from UN Women, Pamela  Mkwamba Matumbi said her organization will continue working with police and other stakeholders in looking for lasting solutions  to social  challenges facing  people with Albinism in the country.

She said like any other groupings, UN Women decided to take an active role in efforts to fight for the rights of people with Albinism  when it was  touched to learn that fellow Malawians, due to their different skin, are  hunted down and killed on the misconception that their body parts can make wealth inducing charms.

“We all shoulder a collective role of squeezing sense into members of the communities that myths and beliefs that Albino body parts are potential catalyst for wealth inducing charms  are false and they must be warned  that anyone intending to cause harm on members of this group will face the real weight of the Law,” said Mkwamba Matumbi.

She then commended the country’s leadership for taking tough stand against  tendencies of perpetrating atrocities and violence on people with Albinism and formulation of government national response plan which she said provide a clear direction in rehabilitation of victims of violence and implementation of strategies to curb further occurrences of attacks and killings of people with Albinism.

“ Let me also thank our members of Parliament who have complemented our campaign against abuse of right of people with Albinism  by  passing  pieces of legislation which are potential to keep away those nursing intention to attack Albinos,” said  Mkwamba Matumbi.

In his remarks,  Chief Mwaulambia  thanked  UN Women and Police for considering  Chitipa District, and particularly,  his area for the  special donation.

Mwaulambia assured both  Police and UN Women that he will put a keen eye on the donation to ensure that the items are used for the purpose intended for, warning unspecified penalty for any form of abuse.

Mwaulambia, who appreciated  the support from stakeholders in fighting  abuse and violation of rights of people with Albinism, he made a strong pledge that  people with Albinism in his area are as safe and secure like any other subject.

UN Women, with funding from DFID, under a Human Right Window, in collaboration with the ministry of  gender, children, disabilities and social welfare, is building capacities of existing grass-root security structures in schools and villages to  ensure safety of people with Albinism, especially pupils, in selected districts of Chitipa, Kasungu, Machinga and Nsanje.

Since criminals launched attacks on people with  Albinism, Chitipa District, with a total number of 21  people with Albinism, registered two cases, with 52 years old Lucia Kalinga, from Senior Chief Kameme, losing her right arm in a gruesome night attack by unknown thugs.


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