Malawi authorities have been urged to prevent the new wave of killings of albinos and bring perpetrators to book. More than 20 people with albinism have been killed during over 70 attacks against these vulnerable citizens in the Southern African country since 2014.
But Malawi’s refusal to push forward with prosecuting suspects accused of attacking and killing people with albinism has left a persecuted minority on the edge.
The European Parliament strongly condemned the latest wave of killings and attacks since the beginning of 2017 as well as any discrimination and persecution directed at them. It deplored that the introduction of stronger laws in the country had not prevented a recent rise in violence against people with albinism.
European legislators meeting in Belgium pointed out the misleading and superstitious beliefs regarding the condition posed the greatest threat to people with albinism in the majority of African countries. It has emerged family members are also involved in the killing of children or siblings with the condition. Their body parts are traded mostly to traditional healers for use as charms and amulets to clients.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) thus urged the government of President Peter Mutharika to protect the rights of these vulnerable citizens. “Government must act proactively against any criminal organisation active in witchcraft and human trafficking train,” MEPS jointly stated. Government is urged to provide resources to the police to adequately investigate the crimes against persons with albinism and bring those behind such attacks to face justice.
Albinism is a genetically inherited condition. It often results in the lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. Since late 2014, human rights organisations noted a rise in attacks on persons with albinism in Malawi. The attacks stem from a belief that body parts belonging to people with albinism contain magical powers.