The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has revealed plans to carry out a public inquiry on the increased killings and abductions of people with albinism.
MHRC executive secretary Grace Malera said this at a press conference which the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare organised in Lilongwe on Friday ahead of the International Albinism Awareness Day.
President Peter Mutharika is expected to attend the commemorations to be held in Kasungu tomorrow.
According to Malera, the commission was yet to see findings by a similar exercise by the United Nation (UN), but was quick to say that theirs would be different; adding that the MHRC’s inquiry will fill in some gaps of its own.
Said Malera: “Essentially, what we are saying is that much of the approach so far has been through social science research that looks at the empirical aspects and the social aspect of it.
“For us [MHRC], the unique mandate that we have is the investigative mandate which is actually provided for in Section 129 of the Constitution. That is the gap that we think this inquiry is going to help fill. What we are going to bring this time around is the investigative component of it.”
Under the Act, the commission is mandated to foster the protection, investigation and recommendation with regard to human rights violations in the country.
Minister of Gender Jean Kalirani said government is using this year’s commemorations to appeal to the public to engage in constructive discussions in finding lasting solutions that would promote and protect persons with albinism who are being discriminated by the day.
“The commemoration is also meant to appeal to the public to uphold the rights of persons with albinism and commence the implementation of the solutions that would uphold their rights,” said Kalilani.
Association of People with Albinism chairperson Boniface Massa has since hailed government for the stance it has taken in curbing atrocities committed against people with albinism.
Massa called for an immediate stop to what he called ‘a blame game’ surrounding the victimisation of people with albinism.
“This finger-pointing among us won’t take the nation anywhere. And the issue here should not be about our image being tarnished whether at the local or international stage. I want all stakeholders, as they undertake whatever action, to take into consideration that it is lives being lost here. It is time for action and that starts now,” said Massa.
Malawi first commemorated International Albinism Awareness Day in 2015, in Mulanje. The theme of this year’s commemorations is ‘Together we can end human rights violations against persons with albinism.’ n