Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique

Foto de arquivo: Crianças albinas em Manica (2017)

Published: February 22, 2018
By: Amnesty International

DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM

An estimated 30,000 people with albinism experienced discrimination and were ostracized; many lived in fear of their lives. Incidents of persecution increased; at least 13 people with albinism were known to have been killed although figures are likely to have been greater. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK). The killings were fuelled by superstition or myths about the magical powers of people with albinism. Most killings took place in the central and northern provinces, the country’s poorest regions.

A seven-year-old boy with albinism was murdered on 31 January by four unidentified men who broke into his house and abducted him while the family slept, in Ngaúma district, Niassa province. On 28 May, a group of unidentified assailants abducted a three-year-old boy from his mother in Angónia district, Tete province. On 13 September, a 17-year-old youth was killed for his body parts and organs in Benga area, Moatize district, in Tete province. The attackers removed his brain, hair, and arm bones. None of those responsible for the killings were arrested or brought to justice by the end of the year.

Despite public outcry, the government did little to address the problem. A strategy was designed to stop the killings; however, this was not implemented, allegedly because of a lack of resources.

Source: Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique

Cite as:Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique, 22 February 2018, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a9938aaa.html [accessed 10 May 2019]

Political map of Mozambique

Albino boy abducted from his home in Mozambique (2018 report)

Picture not related to the case reported

Published: July 11, 2018
By: News24

A 10-year-old albino boy was reportedly kidnapped from his home in the early hours of Monday in northern Mozambique.

According to BBC, the boy’s father, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. 

Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted. 

Police said the matter was under investigation.

A report by AFP said that albinos in Mozambique were often hunted for their body parts, which were used as charms and magical potions in the belief that they brought wealth and good luck.

More than 100 attacks against albinos in Mozambique have been reported since 2014, according to the United Nations. (bold letter type and italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

Albino boy, 10, abducted from his home in Mozambique – report

Related article:
How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique

DW / Hole made in the bedroom wall where the kidnapped child was sleeping

Published: July 11, 2018
By DW (Deutsche Welle)

A 10-year-old albino child was abducted at dawn on Monday (July 9) at his parents’ residence in the city of Lichinga. This is the first abduction of an albino this year in Niassa. The case is already in the hands of the criminal investigation police SERNIC.

Just after the country had reported a year free of abductions or murder of albinos, kidnappers infiltrated the boy’s home through a hole in the wall of the room where the child slept with his siblings.

Pires Ernesto, father of the minor, who was working on a night shift at the time of the abduction,  sadly told DW :” My brother Carlito called to tell me that my son had disappeared , when I asked him how it happened, he said they had made a hole in the wall and had taken the child out of the room, and said that they were informing the neighbours about what happened, and when I returned to the house at 1 a.m. I did not actually find the child. ”

According to BBC, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted.

The kidnapping of albinos that have occurred in Mozambique are mostly related to superstitious beliefs. It is believed that certain body parts of albinos possess magic powers and, because of this, many end up being killed or mutilated.

Resurgence of abduction causes concern

Trindade Guilherme, a representative of the association ‘Amor à Vida’ [Love of Life] in Niassa province, views the re-occurrence of albino kidnappings as a great concern and calls upon the authorities to be swifter in investigations so that the perpetrators are found and punished.

“It is sad, that there were a lot of kidnappings in the past and suddenly it was over, but this morning in the ‘Niassa I’ neighbourhood there was a kidnapping and we became worried again. We ask the police to re-double their investigative efforts so that we can live with more tranquility, ” he says.

Trindade Guilherme (DW/M. David)
Trindade Guilherme

After the incident was reported to the police by the minor’s relatives, the authorities went to the scene, said Alves Mate, a spokesman for the Niassa corporation. He assured that the police are investigating the matter, but did not give further details.

The spokesman for the police in Niassa said:”As soon as the police received the information about this incident, the utmost attention was paid to the case and it was immediately referred to SERNIC (National Criminal Investigation Service), since this is a matter that is not only for the responsibility of the PRM”,

Investigation

Alves Mate reminded us that “the investigations take a while but, at this moment, our police are already working together with SERNIC to solve this abduction case.”

In Mozambique, there are laws to protect people with albinism. However, authorities often fail to catch the kidnappers. There are few cases reported to the police and, on the other hand, police does not have all the necessary resources to hunt down the criminals.

Source: How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique

Portuguese version:
Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa

Crianças albinas. Foto simbólica
  • Data 09.07.2018
  • Autoria Manuel David (Lichinga)

Uma criança albina foi raptada na madrugada desta segunda-feira (09.07.) na residência dos seus pais na cidade de Lichinga. Trata-se do primeiro rapto de um albino este ano no Niassa. O caso já está nas mãos do SERNIC.

Pouco depois de o país assinalar um ano sem raptos ou assassinatos de albinos, raptores infiltraram-se na casa dos pais do menino por um buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia juntamente com outros irmãos.

Triste, Pires Ernesto, pai do menor, conta: “Quando cheguei do serviço, por volta de uma hora, o meu irmão Carlito chamou-me para me dizer que o meu filho tinha desaparecido e perguntei-lhe como é que isso tinha acontecido, pelo que me respondeu furaram a parede e tiraram a criança do quarto. Disse ainda que estavam a informar aos vizinhos [sobre o sucedido]. Quando regressei à casa na verdade não encontrei a criança”.

Angriff auf Albinos in Niassa (DW/M. David)
Buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia

De recordar que os raptos de albinos que têm ocorrido em Moçambique estão na sua maioria relacionados com superstições. Acredita-se que determinadas partes do corpo dos albinos possuem poderes mágicos e por causa disso muitos acabam por ser mortos ou mutilados.

Ressurgimento de raptos causa preocupação

Trindade Guilherme, representante da associação Amor à Vida na província do Niassa, encara o ressurgimento dos raptos de albinos com uma grande preocupação e apela as autoridades para serem mais céleres nas investigações para que os autores sejam encontrados e punidos.

“É triste, anteriormente ocorriam muitos raptos e de repente tudo acabou. Já pensávamos que situações do género tinham acabado definitivamente. Mas esta manhã no Bairro de Niassa I houve um rapto e voltamos a ficar preocupados. Pedimos a polícia para que redobre os esforços de investigação para que se possa viver com mais tranquilidade”, lamenta.

Trindade Guilherme (DW/M. David)
Trindade Guilherme

Depois da ocorrência comunicada à polícia pelos familiares do menor, as autoridades deslocaram-se ao local como disse Alves Mate, porta-voz da corporação Niassa. Ele garantiu que a polícia está a investigar o assunto, mas não avançou detalhes.

“Logo que a Polícia recebeu a informação sobre esta ocorrência dedicou a máxima atenção ao caso que foi imediatamente encaminhado para o SERNIC (Serviço Nacional de Investigação Criminal),  visto tratar-se de um assunto que não é da competência da Polícia”, esclarece o porta-voz da Polícia em Niassa.

Investigação

Alves Mate lembra que “a investigação demora um certo tempo, mas neste momento a nossa Polícia já está a trabalhar juntamente com o SERNIC para desvendar mais este rapto.”

Em Moçambique, há leis que protegem as pessoas com albinismo. Mas, muitas vezes, as autoridades não conseguem apanhar os raptores. Por um lado, há poucas denúncias e faltam meios à Polícia.

Shown is a screenshot. The original article contains a video / audio (FVDK)

LEIA MAIS (= Read more)

Moçambique não regista há um ano casos de rapto ou assassinato de albinos

Dia Internacional para a Consciencialização do Albinismo, uma data instituída pelas Nações Unidas, celebrada este ano (13.06) sob o lema “brilhando a nossa luz para o Mundo”. (13.06.2018)   

Moçambique: 4 anos depois, rapto de albino continua por esclarecer

Família de albino raptado há quatro anos queixa-se da inércia das autoridades na resolução do caso. Polícia diz que a investigação está agora nas mãos da Procuradoria. (06.06.2018)   

Albinos beneficiam de consultas oftalmolóicas gratuitas, em Moçambique

Cerca de 100 albinos participaram de uma campanha para melhorar a visão e sensibilizar sobre os cuidados com os olhos. Ação foi encerrada este domingo (10.09), em Maputo. (10.09.2017)   

Anistia Internacional denuncia nova onda de ataques a albinos no Malawi

Malawi registou nova onda de assassinatos e ataques dirigidos a pessoas com albinismo nos últimos meses, apoiados por um sistema judicial deficiente, denunciou a Amnistia Internacional (13.06.2017)   

Source: Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa

Liberia: ritualistic killings spark mob action in Maryland County (2005 article)

There are so many reports on ritualistic killings in Liberia, one should almost lose track. Below is another article, dating from 2005, on ritualistic murders in Maryland County, perhaps the most notorious region of Liberia as far as ritual murders are concerned. (webmaster FVDK)

Hanging of Convicted Ritual Killers (‘Harper Seven’) in Harper City, Maryland County (1979) – Picture by FVDK Fred van der Kraaij

Published: January 27, 2005
By Josephus Moses Gray – The Perspective 

Some panic-stricken inhabitants of the southeastern county of Maryland, mainly in Harper city, over the weekend took the law into their hands when they staged a violent protest over the wave of ritualistic killings which has re-surfaced in the area.

The county is noted for ritualistic killings, despite serious actions taken over the years by the Liberian government – by putting perpetrators to death by hanging while giving others lengthy prison sentences.

According to latest report emerging from the county, hundreds of angry residents came out to protest the alleged failure of the appropriate security apparatus to curtail the wave of ritualistic killings in the county.

During the violence demonstration staged by the youth of the county, several persons were victimized while several business houses and private homes were reportedly attacked and looted by the mobs. Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Kabineh Ja’neh told journalists in Monrovia this week that the mobs attacked the National Police Headquarters on Green Street in Harper and released several prisoners sentenced for various crimes.

The Justice Minister explained further that the mobs ransacked the Harper Police headquarters and flogged two detainees severely. The two victims, according to minister, have been accused of being involved in the ritualistic killing in the county.

In order to restore calm in the area, the transitional government has imposed a dust to dawn curfew in the county, while at the same time the government has instituted a thorough probe into circumstances that led to the mob action.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative in Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein told journalists in Monrovia that the UN Mission in Liberia is carefully studying the situation in the county.

According to the UN diplomat, UN peacekeepers are on standby to move into the county should the situation continue in an effort to help ensure the safety and security of the people of Maryland. Warning the residents to remain in doors during he curfew which run from 6: PM to 6:AM daily, ambassador Klein said UNMIL will provide full security for the people of the county.

The situation in the past led to severe punishment administered against convicted sons and daughters of the county, with some of them being publicly hanged to death, while others were given long prison sentences. Among those hanged were the former Superintendent of the County, James Anderson, Jr., Allen Yancy, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Oldman Barclay and Madam Wreh Tarnyonoh, just to name few. They were hanged on 17th February 1979 during the regime of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. after a guilty verdict was brought down against them for killing a popular Kru traditional singer Moses Tweh.

Similar situation re-emerged in 1986 and took away the lives of two little kids in the county. Those connected to the act include former NDPL county chairman, David Clark, Alfred Davies, Jasper Bedell, Gbason Toe and one Gardner. They were arrested and brought to Monrovia where they were sentenced to prolong detention while under going investigation.

Another 200 persons were round-up by the former Superintendent of the county now Minister of Internal affairs, Minister H. Dan Morais for the mysterious death of Lt. Alphonso Chalde, former employee of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).

Source: Ritualistic Killings Spark Mob Action in Maryland

Nigeria: fear grips Ondo residents over ritual killings

This article is related to previous postings (see postings dated April 19, April 23 and April 28, 2019). 

Warning: graphic photo shown at the bottom of this page (webmaster FVDK)

Published: April 29, 2019
By: Adebayo Waheed Ibadan

Following the gruesome murder of an 80-year-old woman, Mrs Kojusola Mogaji, by suspected ritualists, fear, anxiety and panic, have gripped the people and residents of Arigidi Akoko in Ondo State.

The deceased, a resident of Imo Quarters, Arigidi Akoko, Northwest local government area of the state, was killed by yet to be identified ritualists.

This recent killing on Thursday night is the sixth to be recorded in recent times and in all cases, the breasts of the victims were removed clinically. (italics by the webmaster FVDK) 

Two of the incidences occurred opposite Ecobank Ikare, and another at Agbaluku Arigidi.

It was observed that since the recent killing in the area, the people have become anxious and fearful especially women, who are afraid of even going for regular Church and Mosque programmes in the early hours of the morning.

Apart from that, it was also observed that the people were no longer willing to open their doors to just anybody for fear of being greeted by attackers.

The brother of the latest victim, Mr Vincent Sunday, has, since his sister’s death, urged traditional rulers and community leaders in the area to speak up about the unpleasant situation even as he called for a security summit in Akokoland.

He urged security agents to beam their searchlight on Akokoland since residents no longer felt safe. 

The daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Kehinde Adewumi, who is a local government official, appealed to the police to investigate and bring to book, those responsible for her mother’s sudden death.

Source: Fear Grips Ondo Residents Over Ritual Killings

South Africa: ritual murder at Madabani?

It is important to note that the case presented below is not a firm case of ritual murder.  However, the firm belief that “(….) we do not have any doubt that they killed him for muti (….)” as one of the community-member said, speaks for itself. This statement does not replace the coroner’s work, but is an indication of the daily fear of people living in South Africa where muti murders are no exception. We will follow related events en revelations and keep you informed on this place. (webmaster FVDK) 

The victim Johannes Khangale.

Published: April 27, 2019
By: Kaizer Nengovhela – Zoutnet (South Africa)

Unrest yet erupted once more in the Madabani area, this time because of a suspected ritual killing. The body of Mr Johannes Khangale (66) was discovered by his nephew on the night of April 15. He was found in his room in a pool of blood, with a piece of rope around his neck. Some of his body parts had allegedly been removed, causing all the blood.

News of the murder spread like wildfire, with hundreds of people streaming to the scene. Angry community members blocked the road to Kutama last Wednesday night (17th) with branches of trees and various other objects. They accused the police of not doing their job to arrest the suspects.

The nephew of the deceased, Mr Bally Rambau, said that he had last seen his uncle on the 13th and had tried to phone him several times, but his phone had kept on ringing. When he visited him on the 15th, he found him in a pool of blood with the rope around his neck. He said that he had shouted for help and other community members had alerted the police.

Rambau said that the family members were devastated by the news of the murder. “How can they do this? They deserve to be punished; this is cruelty at its worst,” he said. “Breaking the news about his death was a mammoth task for me, and it was so difficult for them to accept,” he said.

Khangale was not working and survived on his grant, his nephew said. “My uncle was a loving person who made sure that we were all raised well, irrespective of his not working. We will always think of the good he did for the family. He was such a wonderful person; we are totally devastated by his death,” he said.

Rambau said that they were still waiting for the results of the post-mortem. Khangale was buried last Friday.

Mr Sy Mukhuba, a community member, said that they were deeply shocked by the incident. “We do not know exactly what had happened, and all we have here are rumours doing the rounds,” he said.

“We are now living in fear and we do not know who will be the next, as these people never seem to get enough of our family. Look, they killed a defenceless elderly [person] and we do not have any doubt that they killed him for muti,” he said.

Mukhuba said all indications made them believe that foul play tainted the whole incident. “We are very worried and saddened about the whole incident, and we are waiting for answers to unravel the mystery. Police should do their best to dig deep in this case and the culprits should be brought to book,” he said.

Brig Mojapelo of the SAPS confirmed the case and said they had opened an inquest docket. “We are busy with investigations and we will get to the bottom of the case,” he promised.

Mojapelo added that they did not have conclusive evidence linking it to a ritual murder, but if the post mortem pointed to the contrary, the case would be changed. He cautioned community members to desist from spreading rumours and to give the police a chance to do their work.

Source: Ritual murder at Madabani?

Fancy satellite location map of Madabani in DZANANI, Northern Province, South Africa.

Nigeria, Ekiti State: Police arrest man carrying severed human hands

Published: April 9, 2019
By: Josiah Oluwole

The police have begun an investigation into human parts peddling in Ekiti State after a 23-year-old man was found with human hands in Ijero Ekiti.

According to the police spokesman, Caleb Ikechukwu, the man, simply identified as Nifemi, was arrested by officials of the command. The police said some human hands were found with him in a black polythene bag.

Mr Ikechukwu said the man was nabbed during a stop and search operation on Saturday at Ijero Ekiti.

The suspect was reportedly on his way to Okemesi Ekiti when he was arrested.

There has been an increase in security surveillance in the area since last weekend following fears of a likely attack by bandits.

Ekiti State has also been plagued by series of kidnappings and ritual killing in the recent past. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

Despite the efforts of security agencies in combing the forest in the affected areas, the problem has refused to abate.

Mr Nifemi was said to have hidden severed hands in a polythene bag and was on his way to Okemesi to sell the parts to his “customers.”

He also reportedly confessed to the police that he got the parts from Asa farmstead, near Okemesi.

“When quizzed by the police, the young man said he got the two hands at Asa farmstead near Okemesi and had brought them to Ijero,” he said.

Mr Ikechukwu, who confirmed the incident on Monday in Ado Ekiti, indicated that the suspect could be an agent of a syndicate specialised in peddling human parts for ungodly purposes.

He said investigations had started and efforts were on to break the syndicate.

“Our men arrested him during one of our operations. We are gathering more facts about the case, because we are aware he has been operating with some people and they have to be brought to book,” he said.

Source: Police arrest man carrying severed human hands

Nigeria: suspected ritualists kill 50-year-old woman in Ondo State

Published: April 11, 2019
By: Channels TV

The town of Arigidi Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State has been thrown into mourning after suspected ritualists killed a 50-year-old woman simply called “Iya Dunsi”.

Channels Television gathered on Thursday that the victim was a popular palm oil trader in the community.

Her remains were found about 100 metres from her house.

Confirming the incident, the Police Area Commander in Ikare-Akoko Area Command, Razak Rauf, said the criminals would not have a place under his command.

The Public Relations Officer of Ondo State Police Command, SP Femi Joseph, also confirmed the killing to Channels Television.

He disclosed that the woman was coming from the Northern part of the country where she had gone to buy some goods.

Joseph added that she had arrived at the community in the early hours of Wednesday morning before she was killed by the criminals.

He, however, noted that the police have commenced an investigation into the killing and to ensure that the perpetrators were apprehended and brought to justice.

In 2018, three cases of ritual killings were recorded in Ikare-Akoko. 
(italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

Source: Suspected ritualists kill 50-year-old woman in Ondo

Nigeria: horrifying details of how herbalist, friend kill man for ritual in Ogun State

Published: April, 13, 2019
By: PM News Nigeria

Warning: This article contains a graphic photo of the crime (bottom of the page)
(webmaster VFDK)

A graphic and horrifying details have emerged on how a herbalist and his friend allegedly killed an unknown man for ritual in Ogun State.

The herbalist, Owolabi Mesioye and his friend identified as Oloruntoyin, have been arrested by the Ogun State Police Command for killing the unknown man for human sacrifice at Alaako-Ijeun Egboro area of Abeokuta, Ogun State on March 28th.

According to the police, Oloruntoyin allegedly lured the victim to his home near Mesioye’s residence at night, and then called on the herbalist that he had brought the man to be used for the ritual they had talked about.

The duo lured the victim to the back of Oloruntoyin’s residence, where they allegedly hit him with a charm that made him unconscious.

According to TVC, the neighbours who had seen Oloruntoyin come home with the man grew suspicious when they did not see the man again. The worried neighbours searched for the missing man for two days before they found his dead body floating on a fish pond behind Oloruntoyin’s house on Thursday March 28th.

The matter was reported at the Ibara Police Division, but men of the station could not visit the scene until the following day.

It was learnt that Mesioye, who was to celebrate his annual Ifa festival on March 30th had denied his complicity in the human sacrifice scandal. He was said to have accused residents of the area of being hostile to him and trying to frame him up for what he knew nothing about.

A source said ‘’The herbalist had been warned several times to desist from placing sacrifices at junctions in the community. He was summoned to a meeting by the community leaders but he did not honour the invitation. Same with Oloruntoyin, who also has not been attending landlords’ meetings,’’

Confirming the incident, the state police command spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Eleweran, Abeokuta, where the suspects are currently detained.

The suspects and the victim. Photo: TVC

Source: Horrifying details of how herbalist, friend kill man for ritual

Liberia: Mob violence in Ganta: 16 charged with multiple crimes

The article below is related to my post dated March 26, 2019, on ‘Liberia: ‘Serial Ritualistic’ Killings Spark Mob Justice in Nimba County’. 
Warning: This article contains a graphic photo (bottom of the page)
(webmaster FVDK).

Published: April 10, 2019
By: Ishmael F. Menkor – Daily Observer 

In the recent mob violence in Ganta, Nimba County that resulted into the gruesome killing of two suspected “heartmen,” (ritual killers), the Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged 16 persons with multiple charges, and sent them to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie for prosecution.

According to the LNP Nimba County Crime Services Department (CSD), the 16 people were charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, and criminal mischief due to their connection with the recent mob violence in the county.

A police source informed the Daily Observer that there were several persons arrested, but after thorough investigation and screening, 16 were held liable for being at the center of the violence saga, while some were placed on parole to report regularly to the police.

On March 20, 2019, a large group of residents, among them some women, reportedly intercepted and ransacked a taxi cab that was transporting seven suspected murderers in Ganta, pulled the suspects and mobbed two of them to death.

According to information, the seven men were arrested in Bleevalay, Sea Gbeyi Administrative District for being allegedly connected to a skeleton that was discovered in a creek near the town.

No one has yet identified the person whose skeleton was discovered, but the entire issue flared up during confusion between two groups of people that resulted to a fistfight.

In the quarrel, one of the men accused his friend of being a witchcraft, while the other one too accused his friend of being involved with the killing of an unknown man that was later buried in a nearby creek.

Following a tipoff to police assigned in Saclepea, central Nimba County, concerning the startling revelation, the officers dropped the fighting case and mounted investigation into the alleged killing, thereby arresting all those linked to the act.

Several persons were detained for interrogation and, because of the nature of the case, the Saclepea Police Detail decided to send the suspects to Sanniquellie for further investigation.

Based on that, the police hired a commercial cab to transport the suspects. However, while en route to Sanniquellie, the taxi reportedly developed mechanical fault, thus making an abrupt stop before entering Ganta.

At that point, some residents, among them commercial motorcyclists, who heard of the story, reportedly mobbed two of the suspects to death, while another one that was badly wounded in the attack, was transferred to a nearby health facility for treatment.

Since the mob incident, police effected several arrests and later released those who they discovered were not involved, while those they investigated and established were directly connected to the mob violence sent to court for prosecution.

Our investigation continues.

Accused of being in possession of human skeleton, an angry mob beat two suspects to death, while a third is being treated at a medical facility in Ganta.

Source: In Ganta Mob Violence: 16 Charged With Multiple Crimes

2016 Amnesty International Report on Violence and Discrimination against people with albinism in Malawi

In 2016 Amnesty International published a devastating report on violence and discrimination against people with albinism in Malawi entitled “We are not animals to be hunted or sold’. The title speaks for itself. The reports starts with chapters on Methodology; Background & Context; Legal Framework, and contains informative – and at times shocking – chapters on Discriminatory attitudes in Malawian Society; Attacks, Abductions and Killings of People with Albinism; Other Human Rights Violations and Abuses Experienced by People with Albinism; Violation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and Responses to Violations against People with Albinism. The last two chapters are on Conclusions and Recommendations.

The report’s Executive Summary is being presented below. Amnesty International must be congratulated for this thorough analysis of the situation of people with albinism in Malawi. At least, one can no longer say: ‘We didn’t know this happened’. What we need now is ‘action‘. We will judge the government of Malawi on its deeds, not its words.
To be followed.
(Webmaster FVFK)     

“WE ARE NOT ANIMALS TO BE HUNTED OR SOLD” 
2016 Amnesty International Report on Violence and Discrimination against people with albinism in Malawi 

Executive Summary

Since November 2014, Malawi has seen a sharp increase in human rights abuses against people with albinism, including abductions, killings and grave robberies by individuals and criminal gangs. At least 18 (note 1) people have been killed and at least five have been abducted and remain missing. According to the Malawi Police Service, at least 69 cases involving crimes related to people with albinism have been reported since November 2014 (note 2).

People with albinism are being targeted for their body parts by those who believe that they contain magical powers and bring good luck. As a result, Malawi’s 7,000 to 10,000 people with albinism live in fear of losing their lives to criminal gangs who, in some instances, include close family members.

This report focuses on the lived experiences of people with albinism in Malawi in the context of superstition-driven attacks against them and the corresponding government failure to protect the right to life for this vulnerable group and to guarantee their right to security of person. Although the attacks are being committed by criminal gangs and by individuals, the Government of Malawi has an obligation under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to ensure safety for all people in Malawi, including vulnerable groups such as people with albinism.

Women and children with albinism are particularly vulnerable to abductions and killings by criminal gangs, who see them as easier targets. Women also face the danger of rape and sexual abuse as a result of beliefs that having sex with a person with albinism will cure HIV/AIDS.

Senior government officials, including the President, have publicly condemned the attacks against people with albinism and announced a number of measures, including the appointment of a special legal counsel to assist with investigations and the adoption of a National Response Plan. However, these measures have failed to stop the violence. Some perpetrators have been arrested, charged and convicted, but the majority of crimes remain unresolved. Charges and penalties often have not been commensurate with the gravity of the crimes, creating a sense of impunity.

Amnesty International believes that some of the crimes against people with albinism, especially grave robberies, might have been opportunistic and driven by greed, fuelled by rumours that vast sums can be made by selling the bones of a person with albinism. Activists told Amnesty International that poverty and low literacy levels can drive some people to rob graves. These are the people who largely get arrested after being reported by the people they approached believing that they are buyers. There is a widely-held belief that business people are successful because they use magic.

The Malawi Police Service lacks the capacity to carry out thorough investigations, leading to frustration in communities which creates a risk for mob violence. Poor police investigations may also have allowed perpetrators of murders to avoid facing serious charges, particularly in cases where suspects were arrested in possession of human bones. Amnesty International believes that some suspects charged in 2015 with “possession of human bones” – because police assumed that they had been obtained through grave robberies – may have been involved in the actual killings. Amnesty International urges the government to seek, 2015 with “possession of human bones” – because police assumed that they had been obtained through grave robberies – may have been involved in the actual killings. Amnesty International urges the government to seek,  as a matter of urgency, international support to conduct investigations, including specialist support for forensic testing and combating human trafficking, in order to bring perpetrators of these gross human rights abuses to justice; in accordance with its regional and international human rights obligations. The police must revisit all cases of suspected grave robberies with a view to establishing the exact source of the human bones. 

The identity and motivation of the perpetrators of violence against people with albinism needs to be better understood by Malawi law enforcement agents in order to develop appropriate strategies to counter these crimes. Combatting the widespread mythology surrounding albinism and exposing the public to the fate of people who have committed murder in the hope of selling body parts, must be part of any strategy to stop opportunistic crimes within the community. However, identifying and stopping criminal gangs will require a different approach, including tracing and identifying the source of demand for the body parts of people with albinism and cooperation with neighbouring countries where there is reason to believe people or body parts are being trafficked across borders.

Societal attitudes about albinism are not changing and people with albinism continue to be at risk of attacks. Some victims are abducted and sold by close family members. Violence against people with albinism, including abductions and killings, appeared to be intensifying during the time Amnesty International was compiling the report in 2016.

Beyond the current violence, Amnesty International established that people with albinism experience intersectional human rights violations and abuses based on gender, disability and colour. Their economic, social and cultural rights are equally compromised in debilitating ways. Most specifically, societal ignorance about albinism has contributed to exclusion, stigmatization and denial of basic rights such as the right to education and health. The killings and abductions have exposed centuries-old problems of discrimination against people with albinism.

Societal misunderstanding of albinism in Malawi has endangered the lives of this population group; it has created insecurity and widespread discrimination. In everyday life people with albinism are frequently treated as less than human. They face stigmatization and other insurmountable barriers to the full enjoyment of their economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. They also face significant barriers to their participation as equal members of society. 

In order to address the root cause of the problem, Amnesty International is urging the Government of Malawi to raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with albinism, and to foster respect for their rights and dignity.

Amnesty International is also urging the Malawian government to increase awareness of public health interventions for albinism in order to better address the medical, psychological and social needs of this vulnerable group. The government must provide affordable (or free) sunscreen to people with albinism at all government health facilities and distribute them through community health centres.

The government must also create a conducive learning environment for people with albinism and other disabilities, including by providing learning devices like magnifying glasses, bigger font size in textbooks and other reading materials; sensitize teachers and school administrations about the needs for learners with albinism and adopt measures to end bullying in schools.

Note 1: Amnesty International’s figures are based on cases that the organization was able to verify. The number of the actual killings is probably higher. The major challenge to getting the exact figure of victims is the absence of systematic documentation of attacks.

Note 2: Data made available to Amnesty International by the Malawi Police Service on 11 April 2016.

Source: “WE ARE NOT ANIMALS TO BE HUNTED OR SOLD”
2016 Amnesty International Report on Violence and Discrimination against people with albinism in Malawi