EU, PAC add voice to albino killings

The European Union Delegation has pledged support to Malawi government in bringing to book killers of people living with albinism, saying their murder is a breach of human rights.

In a statement issued yesterday by EU heads of mission resident in Malawi, the killing of Yasin Phiri on December 31 2018 is a tragic reminder of the need for united action to protect the human rights and physical security of people with albinism.

Condemned the killing: Chingota

It reads in part: “We reiterate our concern at the continuous and widespread discrimination and persecution of people with albinism in Malawi, and recall the need to offer effective protection, to ensure full respect of their human rights and to allow their full and active participation in the social, economic and political life of the country. We remain committed to supporting the government of Malawi in taking steps to protect and promote rights of people with albinism.”

After the brutal murder of Phiri in his house at Kande Trading Centre in Nkhata Bay in full view of his nine-year-old son, Malawi Police Service Inspector-General (IG) Rodney Jose assured the country that they will hunt down the killers and bring them to book.

President Peter Mutharika also condemned the killings on Sunday during the launch of Chiwanja cha Ayao in Balaka, saying perpetrators will be given life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has called on religious institutions to preach against barbaric beliefs and attitudes that lead to the killings of people with albinism for their body parts.

In their statement also issued yesterday, PAC chairperson Felix Chingota condemned Phiri’s killing, saying such acts should be consigned to the past.

Meanwhile, Association of People Living with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) president Overstone Kondowe has urged government to overhaul the criminal justice system to ensure court cases involving killers of people with albinism are concluded.

“We have a number of challenges facing people with albinism. Government came up with a national action plan in June for persons with albinism, but nothing has been done to implement it,” he said.

Since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to 152 cases, including 23 murders and 10 people missing, according to Apam.

The current population of people with albinism in Malawi is estimated at 10 000.

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