President Peter Mutharika says he takes great exception to people or organisations belittling Malawi’s current efforts to protect and take care of people living with albinism who are being attacked, abducted and killed by criminal elements.
The President said this Tuesday when an 11-member delegation, comprising officials of the global human rights body Amnesty International (AI) and officials of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam), presented him with a report launched yesterday on results of a research on some atrocities being perpetrated against people living with albinism.
The exclusive 80-page report is titled ‘We Are Not Animals to be Hunted or Sold: Violence and Discrimination Against People with Albinism in Malawi.’
Speaking before receiving the report, Mutharika said he and his government are doing everything possible to not only protect people living with albinism but also to bring to book the criminal perpetrators carrying out the killings of the victims.
He saluted AI as a champion that is relentlessly “ringing the bell” against human rights violations globally, commending the organisation for conducting a research in trying to get to the bottom of the Malawi crisis concerning people living with albinism.
But Mutharika pointed out that he had been shocked and greatly concerned by a media report that quotes AI as allegedly saying Malawian authorities should show more action than merely burying their heads in the sand and hoping that the problem would go away on its own.
Turning directly to AI regional director Deprose Muchena, who was leading the delegation, Mutharika said: “Now, this is a very serious condemnation. As head of this country, I have the responsibility to respond to the world—because the picture you are allegedly giving to the world is not accurate.
“We are doing all we can and, believe me, we are doing more than just talking,” he stated.
The President said he had received 531 letters and 10 000 signatures from people all over the world who are urging Malawi to stay steadfast and do more in halting the attacks against people living with albinism.
In his response, Muchena denied giving an interview with such negative connotations to a reporter. “It’s the first time I am seeing that message. And I have given a statement to the press in which I have commended Your Excellency’s interventions,” he added.
He pointed out that the report is an indication that the attacks in Malawi had attracted global attention.
Muchena underlined the need for government to give the victims consistent security cover for their freedom of movement and to ensure that they are prioritised in socio-economic opportunities. n