Amnesty International: “End violence against people with albinism in Malawi” (2018)

This report is a follow-up to the 2016 report “We are not animals to be hunted or sold’”: Violence and discrimination against people with albinism” and is based on visits conducted in 2017 as well as follow-up interviews and desktop research.

Published: 2018
By: Amnesty International 

End violence against people with albinism in Malawi – Towards effective criminal justice for people with albinism in Malawi

Introduction

Violence against people with albinism in Malawi decreased soon after Amnesty International published its 2016 report “We are not animals to be hunted or sold’”: Violence and discrimination against people with albinism. 

However, since the report was published in 2016, there was a resurgence in attacks, with four more people with albinism being killed in Malawi since January 2017. That report recorded 69 cases involving crimes related to people with albinism, comprising 18 cases of people killed, five abducted and missing, between November 2014 and May 2016. In February 2018, a joint report by the Malawi Police Service and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs revealed that the number of reported crimes had increased to 148, including 14 cases of murder and seven attempted murders since November 2014 (note 1). 

In May and June 2017, an Amnesty International delegation visited Malawi and met with civil society, victims and government officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the national prosecuting authority, the Chief Justice and other members of the judiciary and the police. 

This briefing is a follow-up to the 2016 report and is based on visits conducted in 2017 as well as follow-up interviews and desktop research. The briefing focuses on the current resurgence in attacks against people with albinism, stemming from an atmosphere of prejudice and a lack of understanding of the condition. The problem is exacerbated by inadequate resources to deal with crime, leading to a culture of impunity. The briefing analyses the causes of recurring attacks and the government’s response, and identifies gaps in the criminal justice system. 

It also assesses the progress made in Malawi towards the protection of the right to life and security of people with albinism. 

Background

The UN noted that from 2000 to 2013 it had received 200 reports of ritual attacks on people with albinism across 15 African countries (note 2). Since November 2014, however, an unprecedented wave of killings and other human rights abuses including abductions and robberies against people with albinism has swept through Malawi. Similar attacks have occurred in neighboring Mozambique. People are targeted for their body parts in the belief that they contain magical powers. The current population of people with albinism in Malawi is estimated at between 7,000 and 10,000, representing a ratio of 1 in every 1800 persons (note 3).

Between June and December 2016, Malawi experienced a seven-month respite from attacks and killings, believed to be because of awareness brought by the launch of the Amnesty report, the public condemnation of the attacks by President Mutharika and other senior government officials. This was broken in January 2017 when Madalitso Pensulo, a teenage boy with albinism, was killed in Mlonda village under the Nsabwe Traditional Authority in Thyolo District. In February 2017, Mercy Zainabu Banda, a 31-year-old woman with albinism was found murdered in Lilongwe with her wrist, right breast and hair removed. Two brothers were stabbed in Nsanje in March 2017, amid several attempted abductions or killings. Cases of verbal insults, threats and robbery of graves containing the remains of persons with albinism have also been recorded. Women and children with albinism are particularly vulnerable to abductions and killings by criminal gangs because they are seen as easy targets. According to the UN, suspected perpetrators operating as gangs or individuals can gain up to US$75,000 for the sale of a full set of body parts (note 4).

Notes:

Note 1:
Joint Docket Tracing Exercise Report for Cases of Persons with Albinism in Malawi. This is a Joint report by the Malawi Police Service, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. It was funded by the UNDP with technical assistance from UNICEF.

Note 2:
www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/…/A_HRC _24_57_ENG.doc Report on Albinism, UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, 2013

Note 3:
Amnesty International, ‘We are not animals to be hunted or sold’: Violence and discrimination against people with albinism (Index: AFR 34/4126/2016)

Note 4:
http:/news.un.org/en/story/2016/03/525042-witchcraft-beliefs- trigger-attacks-against-people-albinism-un-expert-warns 

Continue reading the 24 pages report: see source (below) 

Source: End violence against people with albinism – Towards effective criminal justice for people with albinism in Malawi



Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa?

Fortunately, I am not the only one worried or angry about the mutilating and murdering of people living with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. We have people like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the famous Ghanaian undercover reporter, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Overstone Kondowe, director of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, Richard Rooney in Swaziland, Kassim Kazungu, President of the organization Albinos without Borders in Burundi (‘Association Albinos sans Frontières de Burundi’) and – last but not least, the people running Under The Same Sun, an organization fighting for the rights of Persons with Albinism in Tanzania, headed by Peter Ash. And there is Tom Head.

I read his piece on ‘why albinos are being murdered in South Africa’ and immediately felt the need to share it with you, the reader of this blog on ritual killings in Africa. Tom Head is, according to his own writing, a 26-year old writer and English Teacher. ‘British by birth, South African by heart. His wife is definitely his better half. Known to follow rubbish sports teams. Writes mainly about current affairs, politics and sport.’ Unquote. Judge for yourself whether I took the right decision to include his article on this site. His article dates from the end of March, this year. Thanks Tom for your precious contribution!

A luta continua – the struggle continues!

Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa? 

TOPSHOT – An albino model wearing a creation waits to access a private lounge during the fashion show at the 2017 Durban July horse race in Durban, South Africa, on July 1, 2017.

Myth and superstition threaten the lives of one of society’s most marginalised groups.

Published: March 29, 2018
By: Tom Head

In 2018, it goes without saying that no-one should be fearful of their lives because of what skin colour they were born with. However, this is very much a reality for albinos in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN state that people who live with albinism are treated “more like ghosts than humans”*, following years of ostracisation and a general lack of public understanding. Feeling marginalised by society is one thing. But being murdered because you’re different is a whole other, heartbreaking issue.

What causes albinism?

Albinism is hereditary. It doesn’t have to be passed on directly from an albino parent, but the mother or father must be a carrier of the gene for a child to inherit the condition.

When the human body fails to produce enough melanin, it affects the colourisation of the skin and its pigmentation. Around one in 20 000 people worldwide are albino.

Why are albinos murdered?

Their persecution is almost entirely based on myth and superstition. Witch doctors operating in southern Africa believe their body parts possess magical powers. Some think that possessing their limbs can ensure better health, and will bring good luck to the owner.

The idea is beyond ridiculous, but it is ultimately tragic. On the other side of the coin, some witch doctors also teach the idea that albinos are cursed. The crackpot theories range from the ideas that they are trapped spirits, to being the living souls of colonialist invaders.

Those living with albinism are also at risk of sexual assault and rape. The falsely-believed notion that having sex with an albino can cure HIV / AIDS is not a real scientific fact, but it is a real, terrifying threat.

Where is it most dangerous for albinos to live?

Malawi has reported “at least 18” murders of albino citizens since 2014. However, Tanzania is where the most murders occur, and that’s due to the sheer size of their albino population. It’s estimated around 7,000 people live with albinism in the country.

According to a UN report, nearly 80 albino Tanzanians have been killed since 2000. It’s reported that albino body parts can fetch “up to $75 000” on the black market.

Albinos killed in South Africa

Violence against albinos has never matched the same levels seen north of Mzansi. However, there have been some high profile cases in Mpumalanga this month that have forced South Africa to confront a horrifying reality.

A traditional healer who allegedly killed two children with albinism appeared in a Witbank court last month. Following that, the grave of an albino local was dug up in Pienaar near White River: His hands and right foot had been cut off.

Police in Mpumalanga have vowed to step up their attempts to protect the albino community. General Mondli Zuma stated this week that the “barbaric act” of dealing in body parts has to be stopped.

Misinformation and lies should never result in the death of a human being. But when they are systematically pedalled to target one specific community, something drastic has to change. Albinos can no longer be treated as ghosts, rather than people.

* – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Source: Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa?

Ritual killing: shocking revelations by Gabon footballer Shiva N’Zigou

International football player Shiva N’Zigou

Published: August 17, 2018
By: Sputnik International / Africa news

International football player Shiva N’Zigou, who at some point played at the French club Nantes noted that his mother had been killed in a ritual act for him.

In a video, reposted by the Le Chronique du Gabon YouTube channel and apparently first released by a local television channel, former Gabonese forward Shiva N’Zigou addresses the general public revealing his mother was killed for the sake of his football success.

According to Shiva, his father committed the horrendous act as a ritual killing “in the name of his business prosperity,” namely to keep the money his son earned to himself, so that Shiva could then make further progress in football. According to Shiva, the financial aspect had been an issue in the family.

The footballer separately noted that at the beginning of his sports career, his parents faked his ID, changing his name and reducing his age by five years.

Shiva also provided a couple of saucy details about his personal life, saying he had had relationships with men, one of whom he reportedly dated for a year, as well as had “rapports,” or liaisons with his aunt and sister during some religious festivities.

N’Zigou played for multiple football clubs, including French FC Nantes, and rounded off his career in 2016. The player partook in 24 matches as part of the national Gabonese squad from 2000 to 2008, netting five goals. N’Zigou is believed to have been the youngest player in the African Cup championship, reportedly making his debut at the age of 16.

Source: Incest, Ritual Killing: Shocking Revelations by Gabon Footballer Released Online

Related article: Football. Les terribles confessions de l’ancien Nantais Shiva Star N’Zigou
Translation: Football. The awful confessions of former FC Nantes player Shiva Star N’Zigou

Published: August 17, 2018, 4:39 PM
By: Ouest France

L’ancien joueur international espoir gabonais Shiva Star N’Zigou, formé à Nantes, s’est confessé sur les dérives du football dont il a été victime dans sa vie.

Il y a des histoires qui font froid dans le dos, celle de Shiva Star N’zigou en fait incontestablement partie. Dans une vidéo publiée sur YouTube où on a du mal à le reconnaître, le joueur formé à Nantes et ancien international espoir gabonais s’est confié sur les zones d’ombre de sa carrière de footballeur lors d’une cérémonie religieuse. Et le moins que l’on puisse dire c’est que le joueur avait le cœur lourd.

Un âge falsifié

C’est une pratique malheureusement répandue dans le monde du football africain même si elle peut paraître un peu clichée. L’ancien canari avoue dans sa confession filmée que son âge a été falsifié en avançant sa date de naissance, de quoi le vieillir de 5 ans. La raison : mieux réussir dans le football. Très vite repéré à l’âge de 14 ans par le SCO d’Angers alors qu’il évolue encore dans son pays natal, Il terminera meilleur buteur des U15 nationaux du SCO, et pour cause il avait 5 ans de plus que ses coéquipiers et adversaires. Il est notamment le plus jeune joueur à avoir disputé une CAN et avoir inscrit un but lors d’une CAN. Dans sa confidence le joueur admet entre autres que son vrai prénom a été modifié à son arrivée en France, le Gabonais s’appellerait en vérité Shiva, nom tiré du spiritueux Chivas.

Déviances sexuelles effroyables

Le Gabonais de naissance en a plus sur le cœur que ce simple aveu et délivre un véritable récit aussi poignant qu’effroyable, qui a au moins le mérite d’une sincérité que peu oseraient avoir. L’ancien footballeur hésite tout en précisant à son auditoire que « c’est délicat » de dévoiler ce qu’il s’apprête à raconter. L’homme, aujourd’hui âgé de presque 40 ans aujourd’hui, dévoile qu’il a dû avoir des relations sexuelles avec sa tante quand il était « plus jeune ». Rien que cet aveu laisse de marbre mais l’homme continue et explique « qu’il a reproduit ces rapports avec sa sœur », faisant comprendre en substance qu’il a eu des rapports sexuels avec sa propre sœur. Partagé entre la sincérité et la noirceur de ses propos, la vidéo continue et l’effroi de ce qu’il a à confesser aussi, de mal en pis. « Après j’ai eu à coucher avec un ami à moi ». On peut donc comprendre selon la tournure de sa phrase que l’acte n’était pas consenti et s’il n’y a pas plus de précision sur le contexte de cette relation on pourrait en déduire qu’il a été contraint et forcé.

Mère sacrifiée

C’est sûrement le point d’orgue de son horrible récit. L’ancien footballeur avoue que sa mère a été sacrifiée. En cause : les discordes créées par les rentrées d’argent provenant des nombreux contrats qu’il a signés. Selon lui son père aurait tout bonnement tué sa mère afin de garder l’argent pour lui seul sous prétexte de vouloir lui « accoler son esprit » pour qu’il réussisse encore mieux sa carrière. Quand on dit que l’argent rend fou…

Impossible de ne pas sortir ému de ce récit, bien que très glauque. Il faut souligner le courage qu’il lui a fallu pour confesser de tels actes qui relèvent de l’horreur pour le commun des mortels mais qui auront peut-être le mérite de délier les langues si de telles pratiques sont monnaie courante.

Source: Football. Les terribles confessions de l’ancien Nantais Shiva Star N’Zigou

More:

Mère sacrifiée, inceste, papiers falsifiés… l’effroyable confession de l’ancien Nantais Shiva Star N’Zigou
RMCSport.BFM https://rmcsport.bfmtv.com , August 17, 2018

Ancien joueur de Nantes, Gueugnon ou encore Reims, Shiva Star N’Zigou a fait une effroyable confession lors d’une cérémonie religieuse. Le Gabonais révèle notamment que sa mère a été tuée par son mari pour des raisons d’argent liées au football.

Si vous suiviez la Ligue 1 au début des années 2000, son nom vous dit sans doute quelque chose. Joueur de Nantes entre 1998 et 2005, puis passé ensuite par Gueugnon et Reims, jusqu’en 2010, Shiva Star N’Zigou refait parler de lui. Et cela fait froid dans le dos. Lors d’une cérémonie religieuse filmée, on voit l’ancien international gabonais se confesser en public au sujet de son passé et de sa famille. Et révéler des choses effroyables.

“Ma mère est décédée par rapport à mon football, elle a été sacrifiée en fait, a-t-il déclaré. Parce que j’ai signé beaucoup de contrats et que ça ramenait beaucoup d’argent à la famille, ça amenait des discordes. Et mon père, pour garder tout l’argent pour lui, a décidé de sacrifier ma mère pour que son esprit me soit accolé et que je réussisse encore plus dans le football. Et c’est ce qui a été fait. Mon père me l’a dit en songe. Moi je n’étais pas d’accord, j’avais refusé, mais malheureusement ça s’est fait. (…) Pour le Seigneur, on a participé, donc le sang de ma mère est tombé sur moi. Donc je demande pardon au Seigneur.”

“J’ai eu des rapports avec ma tante, je les ai reproduits sur ma soeur”

L’ancien international gabonais a aussi révélé que ses papiers et sa date de naissance avaient été modifiés et qu’en réalité, il avait “cinq ans de plus”, soit 39 ans au lieu de 34. N’Zigou a aussi révélé des pratiques incestueuses lors de son enfance. “Quand j’étais plus jeune, j’ai eu des rapports avec ma tante, a-t-il confessé. Je les ai reproduits sur ma sœur”. “J’ai aussi couché avec un ami à moi, un homme, a-t-il poursuivi. J’ai aussi eu une autre relation de longue durée avec un homme, qui était aussi un ami à moi.”

And:

Incest and spiritual sacrifice: the shocking story of Shiva N’Zigou
OneFootball, August 19, 2018