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14 albinos leave school in Ntchisi

The unprecedented wave of brutal attacks against people with albinism has created a climate of terror for this vulnerable group in the country forcing 14 children with albinism to withdraw from school in Ntchisi alone.

Ntchisi District Commissioner, Malango Botomani, made the revelation on Wednesday.

Marking the end of a four-kilometre solidarity walk against violence and discrimination against people with albinism organised by World Vision Malawi (WVM) and Ntchisi District Council, Botomani said: “There are 60 people with albinism in Ntchisi, 30 of whom are school-going children of which 14 withdrew for fear of being attacked.”

She said the district council is accelerating education and public awareness activities on albinism such as the march and debunking myths about the condition.

She said apart from collecting data on people with albinism as one measure to protect and preserve the rights to life and security of person of this vulnerable group, the district council is also lobbying various organisations to provide people with albinism with necessary resources such as sunscreen.

WVM Zonal Operations Manager, Rachael Kathyanga, said WVM organised the march to promote positive perceptions and greater social awareness towards persons with albinism.

“We encourage all stakeholders and organs of the media to portray persons with albinism in a manner that fully respects their human rights and dignity,” Kathyanga said.

Ntchisi Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Charles Kamzingeni, said the march complemented existing efforts police have applied to ensure that people with albinism are protected against crime like any other person.

He bemoaned lack of adequate human resource as he said there are 90 police officers against a population of 278,000 people in the district, resulting in below recommended international police-civilian ratio.

In a statement recently, Amnesty International said a surge of killings of people with albinism, whose body parts are rumoured to be used in ritual practices, has, among others, exposed a systematic failure of policing in the country and left this vulnerable group living in fear.

Senior Chief Kasakula said it is their responsibility as traditional leaders to raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with albinism, and to foster respect for their rights and dignity.

Malawi has experienced a sharp increase in human rights abuses against people with albinism including abductions, killings and grave robberies by individuals and criminal gangs since November 2014.

At least 18 people were killed and five abducted and are still missing.

According to Malawi Police Service, at least 85 cases involving crimes related to people with albinism have been reported since November 2014.

Malawi has a population of about 10,000 people living with albinism.

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