Phalombe people with albinism still being ‘hunted’

People with albinism in Phalombe District on Friday raised concerns over continued threats on their lives despite sensitizations on their protection and punitive action taken against people found in the wrong on issues of attacks on people with albinism.

They were speaking during a Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) sensitization meeting held in the area of Senior Chief Kaduya in the district.

Persons with albinism

Testimonies made at the meeting revealed that people with albinism in the district were still being hunted night and day, a thing that was making them live in constant fear.

“Last month some people came to my place for two consecutive nights attempting to break my door and when I told my relatives they suggested that I leave the house and start sleeping in my sister’s house.

“In the night of the day that I left the house someone broke into it by removing bricks at the back and people that slept in the house chased him but could not catch him,” said Lonny Manuel.

She said the police were alerted in the same night but when they came they did not find anything that could lead them to the person that broke into the house.

“Right now I have completely stopped walking and this affects my economic status as I have to fetch firewood from the hills and sell in order to feed my four children,” said the divorced single mother with albinism.

Another victim of the threats was 23-year-old Chifuniro Kachere of John Village who lives in hiding due to frequent visits by unknown people at her place at night.

She said she was failing to enrol in school in order to finish her form four education because she cannot be too sure of what will happen whenever she goes to school.

Through the testimonies, several critical issues were raised with housing and security being on the top, where it was noted that most of the people with albinism were living in insecure houses, a thing that aggravates their vulnerability to attacks.

Deputy Director for Child Rights at MHRC, Priscilla Thawe said it was worrisome that even after various sensitization meetings in the district some people were still making attempts on the lives of people with albinism.

According to Thawe, research has shown that from 2014 to date a total of 145 albinism attack cases were registered nationwide and among 21 districts from where these cases were registered Phalombe and Dedza stood out hence the sensitization.

“We also noted that during previous sensitizations, issues to do with the impact of albino killings on children were not specially emphasized on despite the fact that 78 percent of the 145 cases were seen to have a huge impact on children,” said Thawe.

Responding to the outcry, Assistant Superintendent Maureen Mnkhwamba from Phalombe Police Station assured people with albinism of total security as police in the district were trying their best to ensure that no other case is registered in the future.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission conducted the Save the Children funded sensitization event with an aim of unearthing hidden issues of attacks on people with albinism.
Mana

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