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Government comments on albinos irk Amnesty International

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

Amnesty International (AI), one of the human rights watchdogs, has faulted Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi for making “shameful denial comments” in relation to attacks on people with albinism in the country.

AI Deputy Director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda, in a statement issued Thursday, says the minister’s comments that attacks on persons with albinism have not reached crisis levels will only fuel such cases.

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He says the remarks are a disturbing reminder of the government’s inaction on the issue.

“Minister Nicholas Dausi’s comments are yet another indication that persons with albinism in Malawi are on their own when it comes to their safety and security,” Mwananyanda says.

The international human rights body has since called on government to promptly investigate recent attacks on people with albinism and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to book.

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AI says people with albinism cannot continue to live in fear in their own country

Commenting on the statement by AI, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Deputy Chairperson Gift Trapence says, for an international organisation to make such an observation, it means that government has failed to protect people with albinism.

Trapence has since called on Minister of Homeland Security to resign with immediate effect.

“We welcome the statement by Amnesty International, and we are calling Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi to resign,” he said

However, when Malawi News wanted to seek comments from Dausi on issues raised by AI and calls by HRDC that he should resign, the minister could not be reached on his mobile phone.

In recent years, people with albinism have been living at the mercy of criminal gangs, who target them for their body parts.

Despite amending the Anatomy Act and the Penal Code to ensure stiffer penalties, the attacks continue.

One of the concerns raised by stakeholders such as Association of People with Albinism is that government is not funding the National Action Plan on People with Albinism, which was launched in June 2018.

K3 billion is needed to operationalise the plan.

On December 31 2018, eight people broke into Yasin Phiri’s house, a 54-year-old person with albinism, while he was sleeping in Kande, Nkhata Bay.

The suspected perpetrators grabbed him and brutally killed him as his nine-year-old son, George, looked on in horror.

On January 22, a one-and-a-half-year-old Eunice Nkhonjera was abducted from her house in Lulanga Village in Karonga in the Northern Region.

In another case, six masked men broke into 14-year-old Goodson Makanjira’s home on February 13 and abducted him

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