Malawi on Saturday commemorated the International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) with President Lazarus Chakwera issuing a rallying cry for the country to end discrimination, stigmatisation and violence against people with albinism.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted June 13 as the IAAD through which countries celebrate the human rights of people with Albinism.
Presiding over the commemorations held at Chigumula Community ground in Nkhotakota,, Chakwera said the responsibility to tackle ill-treatment of people with albinism rests on all Malawians.
“The three most potent odds that persons with albinism face are stigmatisation, discrimination, and violence. What all three of them have in common is that they are wrongful acts committed against persons with albinism.
“This means that the responsibility to end all stigmatisation against persons with albinism, the responsibility to end all discrimination against persons with albinism, and the responsibility to end all violence against persons with albinism lies with the rest of us,” he challenged.
Malawi ranks among countries with deep hostility towards albinos with their killings, tampering of their graves and attempted abductions prevalent amid misconceptions their bones are used for rituals.
Globally known human rights organisation Amnesty International estimates crimes against people with albinism in Malawi to be at around 170 cases, including more than 20 murders since November 2014.
Chakwera, in his speech, said ending the attacks on people with albinism would need people to be knowledgeable about albinism.
“We must get better educated about what albinism is and what it is not so that our thoughts about albinism are not shaped by false beliefs…we need to cultivate social and professional relationships with persons with albinism, the kind that allow us to know them personally, to listen to their stories attentively,” he said.
Meanwhile the Association of People with Albinism (Apam) president Ian Simbota has said people with albinism are still facing attacks in the country.
He, therefore, asked Chakwera to end the attacks as per his campaign promise during the 2020 Presidential elections campaign.
The Apam president, on another note, hailed government support towards people with albinism in areas of employment and education through which over 60 students enrolled across the country’s schools are getting financial and material support.
He also reported that the Malawi Police Service has recruited seven of them and are undergoing training. He described this as good news, saying it will be the first time for the country to have officers with albinism.