from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC) leaders meeting in Tanzania have been urged to intensify efforts to protect the people living with albinism.
The vulnerable persons are subjected to murder and kidnapping for their body parts over false beliefs their limbs bring luck.
Approximately 150 persons with albinism have been killed in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania since 2014 for their body parts.
Tanzania has reported the highest number of killings, 76, for the same period.
“SADC leaders must tackle the root causes of these targeted attacks to end the plight of persons with albinism who continue to be terrorised by criminal gangs across the region. As they meet in Tanzania this week, they must turn the tide against these horrendous crimes,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s director for Southern Africa.
Muchena stated ahead of the 39th SADC Heads of State Summit.
Human rights groups have lamented that criminal justice failures, such as poor handling of cases and evidence, to resolve cases of crimes against persons with albinism had driven the impunity and persistent crimes against this vulnerable group.
Criminal gangs have continued attacking albinos despite legal reforms in some countries.
Muchena said this was intolerable.
“SADC leaders must use this summit to send a clear message that those who perpetrate these attacks will be brought to justice,” Muchena said.
Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized in humans by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.
– CAJ News