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Apam bemoans national action plan budget cut

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SKINNEBACH—Without human rights, there is no development

Association of Persons with Albinism (Apam) Friday bemoaned the reduction by the government of funding towards implementation of the National Action Plan on Persons with Albinism.

Apam acting National Coordinator Maynard Zakaliya said it is disheartening that government has slashed the allocation from the K400 million it has been allocating to K200 million in the current fiscal year.

Speaking during celebrations marking Albinism Day at Mitundu in Lilongwe, Zakaliya said the development would rob the country the gains it has registered in the fight against attacks on persons with albinism.

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“Government thinks all has been achieved and it is relaxing because of the reduced cases on attacks of persons with albinism. Government must be serious in making sure that the achievements that we are registering now should not be robbed,” he said.

He further implored Capital Hill and stakeholders to support persons with albinism with socio and economic programmes that would help them to be self-reliant. He said most of them are poverty stricken.

Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare representative Joshua Mkwehiwa said government has been pumping in resources, including those for construction of houses for persons with albinism, with 28 houses constructed so far.

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“We are targeting those that are at risk because not everyone with albinism needs to have a house constructed for them by government,” he said.

Head of the European Union Delegation to Malawi, Rune Skinnebach, said the EU is committed to advancing human rights for the country’s development.

“Without human rights, there is no development and Malawi cannot meet any of its development targets if this area is not addressed. Every man and woman, boy or girl, persons with disability or any condition such as albinism is critical to the functioning of this nation,” he said.

Currently the EU has disbursed €239,000 for human rights initiatives in the six districts of Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Lilongwe and Dowa.

The Albinism Day was commemorated under the theme ‘United in Making Our Voice Heard”.

In February 2015, government developed and adopted the National Response Plan on Albinism Atrocities.

It was developed as an operational plan to guide all national initiatives aimed at addressing perpetrated attacks on persons with albinism in a concerted way.

Government also wanted the document to act as a resource mobilization tool for all national efforts to end the atrocities.

The plan focused on the following six strategic intervention areas: education, awareness raising and training; internal security; investigative research, human rights monitoring and reporting; administration of justice and victim assistance; legislation; and empowerment of persons with albinism through Apam.

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