MIDRAND, South Africa-Thursday May 17, 2018-9:10 PM Local Time (Cameroon News Agency) Pan African Parliament (PAP) legislators have declared war on pioneers of the human rights violations against persons with albinism. “A severe punishment is the only befitting solution for those who victimise, torture and kill people living with albinism,” said PAP president H.E Honorable Roger Nkodo Dang speaking during the ongoing sixth Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament that is taking place in Midrand, South Africa.
“I urge all legislators here to make it their habit that they always speak out against violations against persons with albinism. All the stories that people are told about people living with albinism as a lucky charm are total offside. I had a family member who lived with albinism. When he passed on we buried him just like every human being. There was nothing new or magical; they are all people just like us. What you see in their complexion is just a condition. Let us not be misled or lied to by those who are terrorizing our people because of their race,” he emphasised.
Commenting on the challenges faced by persons living with albinism, most of the African legislators called for “total removal of these killers from our societies”. They further urged various courts across the continent to give life sentences to criminals killing human being because of their conditions and races. Some legislators also suggested that a death sentence must be the reserved as a solution for those killing persons living with albinism as a way for their ‘ritual purposes’ purposes”
Addressing the PAP, Ikponwosa Ero a United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism challenged the African legislators to address and ultimately put an end to the ongoing attacks and discrimination faced by persons with albinism.
“The Pan-African Parliament could be a force for change here. You could begin to put an end to this violence by developing a coherent policy, guidance document or model law to address harmful practices related to witchcraft,” said Ero.
Last year, a Regional Action Plan is a 5-year plan from 2017 to 2021 which was developed in consultation with hundreds of persons from 26 countries of the continent including persons with albinism, civil society, and governments was endorsed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Nearly 700 attacks and violations were reported against persons with albinism in 28 Countries of Africa in the last decade. In countries like Malawi and Mozambique over 120 cases have occurred in the last three years alone. Cases of attacks and violations against persons with albinism include killings, mutilations, ritual rape, grave robberies and trafficking in body parts across borders. It is widely believed that many cases go unreported due to weak monitoring and the involvement of family members.
“I would like to take this opportunity to state unequivocally that the body parts of persons with albinism do NOT have supernatural powers and we certainly do not generate good luck to anyone. Persons with albinism are human beings like you; and like you, they have the right to life and security of person. Albinism is a mere genetic condition. It happens when two parents carry the gene for albinism. When they do, there is a 25 percent chance at each pregnancy that the child will have albinism. Implications of the condition include low vision and high vulnerability to skin cancer,” she said.
Ero believes that PAP, could work out Africa’s solutions to this African problem, together with partners such as “myself, organizations of persons with albinism”, and reputable organizations such as the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, – all in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 of the AU.
In the past 5 months of this year alone, attacks including murder, mutilation and kidnapping have been reported from Malawi, Benin, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Other countries with records of attacks include Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, DR Congo among others.