Malawi appoints commission to probe albino killings

albino malawi

United Nations' Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism Ikponwosa Ero addresses a press conference at the end of her official visit to Malawi on April 29, 2016. - Malawi's estimated 10000 albinos "are an endangered group facing a risk of systematic extinction over time if nothing is done to stem the tide of atrocities," a UN expert warned on today. Ikponwosa Ero, a UN independent expert told journalists at the end of her 12-day assessment of rights of albinos in Malawi that the situation "constitutes an emergency, a crisis disturbing in its proportions." She said according to police, 65 cases of attacks, abductions and murders of albinos have been recorded since end of 2014. (Photo by Amos Gumulira / AFP)

Malawi’s president, Peter Mutharika, on Friday appointed a commission of inquiry to probe a spate of attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism.

The panel, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Robert Chinangwa, will submit its report to Mutharika by April 30, the president’s office said.

The announcement came after mounting criticism of Mutharika for his response to the attacks.

The Association of People with Albinism has been staging a vigil in the capital Lilongwe and says it will contact foreign embassies in a bid to seek refuge.

Around 200 albinos, joined by 500 sympathisers, marched to the presidential palace on Wednesday.

Malawi, has experienced a surge in violent attacks on people with albinism over the past four years.

In many cases, those with albinism are targeted for their body parts to be used in witchcraft.

In a June 2018 report, rights group Amnesty International said that since November 2014 there had been 148 crimes reported against people with albinism, with at least 21 deaths.

Just 30 percent of those attacks have been properly investigated, according to official statistics, with only one murder and one attempted murder case successfully prosecuted.

Of the 600 cases of violence against albinos in 28 African countries, Malawi accounted for nearly a third.

Albinism, a genetic disorder, causes a partial or total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes.

As a result, many albinos often experience eye problems and have a heightened risk of skin cancer.


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