‘End the ongoing atrocities’ against people with albinism in Malawi, say UN rights experts

UNICEF/Julio Dengucho A young child with albinism in Mozambique.+

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


After a recent “savage” killing and the abduction of a one-year-old baby in Malawi, United Nations experts have urged the Government to take immediate action to protect people with albinism and “end the ongoing atrocities”.

“We urge the authorities to step up their investigations into these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice,” the experts said in a statement on Friday.

People with albinism are born with lighter than normal skin, hair and eye colour, making them sensitive to the sun and bright light.  In some communities they are attacked or even killed for their body parts which are erroneously believed to possess magical powers.

Since 2014, 150 cases of killings, attacks and other human rights violations against persons with albinism have been reported in the southeast African nation.

Despite various moves to support people with albinism, “the recent attacks demonstrate that the Government needs to redouble its efforts to end the ongoing atrocities,” according to the experts.

“We call on the Government to urgently address the root causes of these attacks and to strengthen nationwide campaigns to raise awareness, conduct robust investigations and prosecutions in all cases, increase protection for victims, and finance and implement all necessary measures,” stressed the experts.

UN experts fear that presidential and legislative elections due to take place in late May, could further aggravate the situation for persons with albinism. Killings and attacks often spike during election periods “because of false beliefs that their body parts can bring good luck and political power when used in witchcraft-related rituals,” the UN human rights experts said.

Some witchcraft practices result in “serious human rights violations”, such as torture, murder, discrimination and exclusion, including banishment from communities, they added.

“These two incidents are part of a larger disturbing pattern in Malawi where ritual killings and egregious human rights violations of the worst kind are instigated specifically against persons with albinism,” they underscored. “The attacks and violations are astonishing in their brutality.”

“We call on the authorities to ensure the deployment of adequate police and law enforcement personnel to protect persons with albinism where they live,” the experts concluded.

The pattern of attacks prompted the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, to reiterate the need to follow the concrete recommendations she made, following her 2016 visit to the country.

The experts also expressed concern at the reported backlog of cases of human rights violations and crimes against persons with albinism, noting that to date, there have been very few prosecutions, giving the impression of impunity.

The statement was issued by Ms. Ero; Catalina Devandas, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities; Agnes CallamardSpecial Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and  Nils MelzerSpecial Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

This start-up is recycling abandoned wooden homes in Baltimore

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

Empathic AI could be the next stage in human evolution – if we get it right

UN, Egypt help avert another Israel-Palestine war in Gaza that was ‘minutes away’, Security Council hears

Who will win the AI race? If countries work together, then the answer could be all of us

Safer products: EP and Council close deal to beef up checks and inspections

It’s time for financial services to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here’s why

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

These are India’s cleanest cities

Security Council approves ‘historic’ political Haiti mission, ending UN peacekeeping role in the country

From Israel’s ‘start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation

Inequality triggered protests across Latin America. Here’s how the youth can help

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

Impressive African health gains at risk from changing trends: WHO report

These 4 leaders are working to improve integration in Southeast Asia

This is the IMF’s latest take on the economy in 2020

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

Coronavirus: Commission welcomes Parliament’s quick green light for proposed new resources to protect lives and livelihoods

Meet the robot fighting back against coral reef destruction

India is failing 175 million of its young people. Here’s the solution

Movius @ MWC14: Discussing novel Communications Applications over a “CAFÉ”

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

Commission publishes the first report on the issuance of a Eurobond

From Sweden to India, School climate strikes have gone global

OECD and European Commission join forces to further support structural reforms in European countries

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

How responsible businesses can step forward to fight coronavirus

4 bold new ways New York is going clean and green

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

Brazilian public health system and universality: a forgotten right!

Tax evasion and fraud threaten the European project

G20 LIVE: “ISIL is the face of evil; our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation”, US President Barack Obama cries out from Antalya Turkey

Media and entertainment in flux: it’s time for the close-up

State aid: Commission approves €200 million Danish loan in support of the Travel Guarantee Fund for travel cancellations due to coronavirus outbreak

This cheap, 700-year old solution could change billions of lives

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Antitrust: Commission launches sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things (IoT)

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

Minding the information gap and why it’s important in tackling COVID-19

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

Commission disburses €8.5 billion under SURE to five Member States

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

Theresa May’s global Britain against Philip Hammond’s Brexit fog

As we switch to cleaner energy, there are three dangers we must not overlook

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

The smartest cyber investment is collective action. Here’s why

Draghi’s ‘quasi’ announcement of a new era of more and cheaper money

Idai disaster: Stranded victims still need rescue from heavy rains as UN scales up response

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

Investing in working conditions and quality jobs

Eurogroup president swallows statement on savings confiscation

Why are Black people in the UK more at risk from COVID-19?

Security Council condemns attacks on Afghan security forces which killed at least 27

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Central Asia bloc has important role in ‘peace, stability and prosperity’ beyond region, says Deputy UN chief

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s