President Peter Mutharika Tuesday maintained that his government is doing everything possible to protect persons with albinism, despite a report by Global human rights body, Amnesty International (AI) stating that government is failing to protect the right to life “for this vulnerable group and to guarantee their right to security of person”.
“Senior government officials, including the president, have publicly condemned the attacks against people with albinism and announced a number of measures, including the appointment of a special legal counsel to assist with investigations and the adoption of a National Response Plan.
“However, these measures have failed to stop the violence. Some perpetrators have been arrested, charged and convicted, but the majority of crimes remain unresolved. Charges and penalties often have not been commensurate with the gravity of the crimes, creating a sense of impunity,” reads part of the report.
But, perhaps because he had not yet read the report before the audience he had with the AI delegation at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Mutharika demanded an explanation on media reports that his government has failed to protect the rights of persons with albinism.
“May be you can clarify this statement in the newspaper that my government has failed in dealing with the attacks because you have made it known to the world… I have served as Minister of Foreign Affairs before and I know the implications of such statements,” said Mutharika.
But in what appeared to be a mere show of diplomacy, AI Director for Southern Africa Debros Muchena said the institution was not exactly saying Malawi has failed to protect the rights of persons with albinism.
“In fact, earlier in the morning, I commended your government for its strides made so far. These are issues that have attracted international attention,” said Muchena.
In the report, however, AI further states that the Malawi Police Service lacks the capacity to carry out thorough investigations, leading to frustration in communities which creates a risk for mob justice.
“Poor police investigations may also have allowed perpetrators of murders to avoid facing serious charges, particularly in cases where suspects were arrested in possession of human bones,” adds the report.
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