from MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – THE United Nations is worried at the possibility of an increase in attacks against people living with albinism in Malawi as the country prepares for new elections.
This follows the recent attack on a 92-year-old woman who had two of her toes amputated.
Tafwauli Ngona, the victim, was attacked at her home in the northern town of Mzimba.
The attack is reminiscent of the lead-up to the elections in Malawi last year when a spike in the number of attacks and killings against Malawians with albinism increased.
Such attacks stem from root causes such as the negative mystification of albinism, stigma, poverty and harmful practices.
Politicians aspiring for public office have partly been blamed for the violations against people with albinism.
Maria Jose Torres, the UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi, said as political contestations heightened after the Constitutional Court decision to nullify the result of last year’s elections, the attack on Ngona raised concerns for the safety of persons living with albinism.
Torres called on the government to ensure adequate financial resources to fully implement the National Action Plan on Persons with Albinism.
“In addition, an effective justice system is required to hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable,” she said.
“The UN Country Team in Malawi stands ready to provide any technical advice necessary to achieve these goals.”
The UN commended the Malawi Police Service for its swift investigation into the case of Ngona. Three suspects have been arrested.
There are 134 000 people with albinism in Malawi, a country of over 18 million people.
Human rights groups have reported 150 cases of albino killings, attacks and other human rights violations reported in Malawi over the past five years.
– CAJ News