The international community has condemned the Malawi Government for failing to protect people with albinism, with both the United Nations and the human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI), giving damming verdicts on the country’s systematic failures to protect the minority group.
At a press briefing on Friday, the UN mission narrated a chilling account of the situation in the country following a spate of attacks on albinos, which continue unabated despite assurances from the State, saying there is now zero protection for albinos in the country.
A UN independent expert on the rights of persons with albinism, Ikponwasa Ero, speaking at the end of a week-long fact-finding mission in the county, warned Malawi and the world at large that the situation is so dire that there is a risk of ‘systematic extinction’ of albinos in the country.
Ero described the situation as ‘an emergency’ following recording of some 65 gruesome killings.
She said since her arrival, two critical incidents occurred, which showed the magnitude of the situation in the country.
Ero said although there is political will from government to tackle the issue, failure to provide adequate resources have undermined efforts to end the killings and abductions.
She has, since, condemned witchcraft beliefs and practices which are widespread in the country, as needing government intervention, especially in amending relevant legislations.
Apparently, 12 people with albinism have so far been reported killed since 2014 and five others have been abducted during the same period, but never found.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International (AI) has decried the recent murder of a two-year-old girl with albinism in Kasungu.
But Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Jappie Mhango has insisted that government is doing all it can to protect people with albinism in the country.
“Government is currently running various programmes to sensitise the public to the evils of killing people with albinism,” said Mhango.
In a statement signed by AI deputy director for southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, the rights watchdog says Malawi authorities have failed to protect the vulnerable group and that the killing of the baby should have prompted the authorities to take action.
“People with albinism must be defended and be protected at all cost. It is every Malawian’s duty to help to put a stop to the barbaric killings,” said Mwananyanda.n