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Malawi : Albinism Protests

D 15 mars 2019     H 06:15     A     C 0 messages

Protesters took to the streets in Malawi’s capital on Wednesday to demand the government step up protection for people with albinism following a spate of murders and attacks driven by an underground trade in their body parts for black magic.The march comes amid fears that people with albinism could be at increased risk ahead of elections in May as candidates seek out lucky charms to boost their chances of victory. Overstone Kondowe, head of the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi, said people with albinism were living in fear ahead of the election.

"It’s a very fearful period for us because many people here believe in charms, and we’re talking about 500 people contesting different positions in the election," Kondowe said.

Timothy Mtambo, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, a Malawian rights organisation, accused the authorities of turning a blind eye to the attacks.
"There is nothing that has been done apart from giving empty promises and yet our brothers and sisters with albinism are facing attacks every day," he said. There have been about 150 reported attacks since 2014, according to Amnesty International. Amnesty said there had been two murders and three abductions since New Year’s Eve. The victims include a one-year-old girl snatched at night as her mother slept and a 54-year-old man killed in front of his nine-year-old son.

Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi was widely criticised by human rights activists last month after saying the attacks had not reached "crisis levels".

A U.N. expert on albinism has said people with albinism in Malawi - estimated to number up to 10,000 - risk "extinction" due to the violence.