THE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (CSOS) JOINT ADVOCACY AGAINST PERSONS WITH ALBINISM KILLING IN MALAWI (CSO-JAAAKM),
AGAINST THE KILLING OF PERSON WITH ALBINISM IN MALAWI
Exactly one year after State President of Republic of Malawi Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika issued press statements and made commitments to protect persons with albinism in Malawi, CSO-JAAAKM is saddened by the increase in continued attacks of persons with albinism in the country.
The network has been heartbroken by the news of a recent be heading of a 9 year-old boy with albinism Harry Mokoshoni, from Moto village Traditional Authority Nkoola in Machinga. This is a painful and avoidable loss of an innocent life to the family and to the nation. The boy went missing on the night of Friday 26 February, 2016 and after a gang of men forcibly broke into their house and abducted him. His mother was injured in the process of trying to defend the child.
It is sad that People with albinism are being treated as second class citizen and experiencing increasing discrimination as a result of their condition. Those who survive an attack are affected severely and facing a constant threat of more psychological torture due to lack of safety mechanism in communities and national level. Those in school withdraw due to fear as a result they are unlikely to get educated and obviously, this has an economic consequence. These multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination are evidence of a vicious cycle of the challenging life that persons with albinism are facing in Malawi.
The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has registered over 50 various forms of attacks against persons with albinism from December 2014-March 2016 with 11 deaths cases of which 64% of the deaths are women and children. These attacks were also confirmed in a research by Disabled Women in Africa in 2015 on assessing the impact of persons with albinism killing in Malawi. It is noted that the number of on-going attacks may be higher than those reported, but data-gathering is difficult due to the sensitive nature of the subject that is veiled in secretive practices of witchcraft which makes it difficult to properly investigate the cases
CSO-JAAAKM is worried that the population of persons with albinism currently estimated at 10,000 in Malawi might come to extinction as a result of increased attacks.
People with albinism in Malawi were hopeful with the political statements and ministerial position of putting in place a national response strategy. However, CSO-JAAAKM has observed that although there is political will, this is not being translated into action. The government has not taken full administrative and legislative measures to end the killing and abductions. This is a clear indication of collective failure to guarantee the right to life for people with albinism.
CSO-JAAAKM, a grouping of Civil Society Organisations therefore calls upon
- Urgently take administrative and legislative measures to ensure maximum protection and enjoyment of right to life of persons with albinism in the country.
- To ensure that the Government’s action plan of 2015 on the response to the killings and abduction of persons with albinism is fully implemented without further delay.
- To review and amend the Disability Act to include a provision on persons with Albinism.
- CSO’s to take a firm action on civic education to the general public on human rights issues and mainstreaming effective measures to protect persons with albinism within their existing programs.
- International cooperation in the investigations to effectively speed up and facilitate access to justice on Killings of persons with Albinism.
We, CSO-JAAAKM, would like to reaffirm that, Persons with Albinism are all citizens of this country and should not live in fear of losing their life or body parts because of social status and skin condition due to myths. We condemn the attacks on person with albinism as evil and a threat to basic human right enshrined in the Republican Constitution of Malawi. We urge the government to respect article 10 (the right to life), article 16 (freedom from exploitation, Violence and Abuse) and article 13 (access to justice) as provided in the UN convention Rights of persons with disability (UNCRPD) which Malawi signed.
We express our solidarity and extend our condolences to the family and close friends affected by the killing and abductions. Finally, we call for a local and international community support and immediate denounce of the Killing and abductions of persons with albinism in Malawi and demand for justice.
DISABLED WOMEN IN AFRICA
“This document was produced with funding from the Disability Rights Fund. Statements of fact and opinion in the present report are those of the respective authors and contributors and not of the Disability Rights Fund. DRF does not make any representation, express or implied, in respect of the accuracy of the material in this “report/document” and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any conclusions, assumptions, errors or omissions that may be made.”
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