Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has said the Ministry of Justice and enforcement agencies are working hard to ensure the 169 albinism cases in the country’s courts are concluded.
The minister said this in Lilongwe on Tuesday when she held a media briefing to condemn the attack of Saidi Futon Dayton, 26, a man with albinism from Kadewere Village in Mangochi.
She said: “The ministry will conclude all albinism cases as soon as possible, including those in which high-profile people are implicated. We request the Judiciary to move with speed in concluding these cases.”
Kaliati encouraged communities to report such cases to the police, traditional leaders and community policing forums, among other authorities so that they can help government fight against the attacks on people with albinism.
A statement signed by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) executive secretary Habiba Osman has since condemned the resurgence of attacks on persons with albinism.
Reads the statement in part: “The commission received confirmation that on January 27 2021, Saidi Futon Dayton was brutally murdered for rituals and his remains were put in a bag for a potential buyer in Zomba.
“This is an indication that these killings are continuing and may, in fact, be going unreported.”
Osman commended the police, who have arrested three suspects so far, for their quick response to the matter.
She reminded the public to desist from engaging in harmful and criminal practices that include acts of violence on persons with albinism.
“All persons with a disability or albinism have the right to enjoy their human rights like all other Malawians, including the right to personal liberty and security and the right to life,” reads the statement further.
MHRC has since asked government to act swiftly in addressing the matter despite that the country is fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In October 2020, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation in collaboration with the Centre for Development of People decried continued attacks on vulnerable and minority groups in the country, including people with albinism.
CHRR executive director Michael Kaiyatsa said the problem is worsened by delays in accessing justice.
He said: “Persons with albinism have been subjected to attacks and we have lost over 25 people with albinism, some attacked while others are still missing.”
And during last year’s International Day of Disability on December 3, the United Nations Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres bemoaned the disproportionate challenges that persons with disabilities suffer.
She said: “In particular, the UN strongly condemns the recent cases of killings and exhumations of remains of persons with albinism. Such attacks, desecration of tombs, as well as continued harmful beliefs that generate discrimination, exclusion and violence against persons living with albinism, must stop.”
The UN further called for greater efforts to dispel harmful beliefs, bring perpetrators to justice and facilitate full and effective participation of all persons living with disabilities, including persons living with albinism.