The United Nations (UN) high level meeting on people with albinism in Africa which will be held today is a crucial opportunity for countries to end discrimination and violence against people with albinism across the continent, Amnesty International says.
The meeting which will take place in South Africa has been convened by the UN’s first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero.
It will bring together civil society organizations representing people with albinism from different parts of the continent who will share their experiences.
Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena whose organisation conducted research on the killings of people with albinism in Malawi said African leaders and communities must come together and confront the root causes of the ongoing discrimination and horrific violence faced by people with albinism.
“No one should be discriminated against because of their appearance. This is a chance to turn the tide for people with albinism, and delegates must take concrete steps and come up with measures to promote effective and full enjoyment of the human rights of people with albinism,” said Muchena.
An Amnesty International report released in June 2016 exposed a wave of violent attacks against people with albinism in Malawi. Attacks have increased sharply in Malawi over the last two years with four people, including a baby, murdered in April 2016 alone.
Eighteen people were killed between November 2014 and June 2016 while at least five others had been abducted and remained missing during the same period.
Killings of people with albinism are fueled by a belief that their bones bring wealth and good luck. The body parts are believed to be sold to practitioners of traditional medicine in Malawi and Mozambique for use in charms and potions.