By: Christopher Chimangeni
State of the Union (SOTU) Programme coordinated by Eye for Development (EFD) and Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) on 17th May, held a National Stakeholders Conference on the killings of People with Albinism at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.
The conference was made possible with the joint efforts from the State of the Union (SOTU), Citizen Alliance, Advancement of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), Disabled Women in Africa (DIWA), and the CSOs Joint Advocacy Against Persons with Albinism Killing in Malawi (CSO JAAAKM) among others.
According to SOTU Coordinator, Edward Chileka, the history of killing
of persons with Albinism in Malawi dates from long time ago. He said this is a serious violation of human rights and against almost all the charters and protocols that support and protect people and human rights. “The issues of Albinism were not coming out clearly then, as there were beliefs/myths that such people do not necessarily die rather they just disappear,” he said. Chileka continued to say that from 2014 to date, news was rife in some parts of Malawi that people were abducted, killed and their graves tampered with or exhumed to get their bones for ritual and witchcraft.
It was further reported that 6 people have been murdered in cold blood, 14 have been abducted, 3 are missing and about 14 graveyards exhumed for the same purposes.
Although response from both the government and the CSO has been cold and late, both parties were overwhelmed by the perpetual news of children as well as adults who are being abducted and later on killed by unkn
own assailants. Response from the judicial system on cases that went into courts prompted CSOs to come up and join forces to act against the killings of people with Albinism.
National Stakeholders Conference on the killings of Albinism targeted various sectors including human rights defenders, various civil society organizations, human rights lawyers, policy and decision makers, government officials, judiciary, the Malawi police, and members of the press among others. This event paved way to eradicating killings and rights violations faced by Albinos in the country as a wide range of stakeholders explored solutions and agreed on solutions to tackle the human rights abuses.