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Government given deadline over albino attacks

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Different organisations and institutions fighting for the rights of persons with albinism have petitioned Parliament, asking the august House to ensure that government immediately reinforces the registration, monitoring and regulation of traditional healers as a matter of urgency within 21 days.

The organisations and institutions include the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma), the Association of Persons Living with Albinism (Apam), Citizen Alliance and University Of Malawi’s Faculty of Law.

In a petition delivered to Parliament through Machinga East lawmaker Esther Jolobala, the fighters further demand that a commission of inquiry should be established within 21 days to investigate the role the traditional healers, business people, law enforcers and politicians are playing in the attacks.

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“We want lawmakers to ensure that cases involving the attacks and killings of persons with albinism must be given to judicial officers whose jurisdictional powers and competence allow their courts to pass maximum sentences,” reads the petition.

The organisations also want Parliament to ensure government should commission the urgent systematic registration of persons with albinism and details of their relatives in all constituencies through a census.

They are also recommending the review of laws such as the Disability Act, the Witchcraft Act, the Anatomy Act and the Trafficking in Persons Act.

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In an interview after receiving the petition, Jolobala said she will personally push for the review of the laws since the attacks have adversely affected her constituents.

“While we wait to review our laws, there should be deliberate measures to ensure our friends with albinism are protected. For instance, police can mount roadblocks in remote locations so as to instil a sense of fear in those planning the attacks,” said Jolobala.

As things stand today, it remains unclear where the bones and other body parts of persons with albinism are being sold.

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