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Rights groups fight for missing Macdonald Masambuka

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Total of 30 international and local human rights and governance organisations, including Amnesty International, have called on the government to urgently investigate the case of a missing man with albinism, Macdonald Masambuka, and similar pending cases and bring to justice suspected perpetrators.

The 22-year-old Masambuka from Nakawa Village, Traditional Authority Nkoola, in Machinga District went missing on March 9 2018 and several organisations have been fighting for action.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the organisations have asked the government to enhance its judicial and administrative framework to combat attacks on persons with albinism.

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“This includes ensuring a well-resourced criminal justice system capable of thoroughly and effectively investigating the cases and, where there is sufficient admissible evidence, prosecuting suspected perpetrators,” the statement reads.

The organisations said the government also ought to give full effect to the response plan of 2015 that President Peter Mutharika launched, including ensuring that the taskforce for combating attacks on people with albinism is effective.

They then urged the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism to intervene in the situation and work closely with the government, non-governmental organisations and technical partners in implementing a holistic strategy to combat attacks on people with albinism.

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“We note that the attacks on persons with albinism violate their enjoyment of a range of rights enshrined in national constitutions and regional and international human rights treaties and standards.

“We, therefore, question why these attacks continue, given the protection guaranteed via the human rights instruments that place legal obligations on states to respect, protect, promote and fulfil their human rights,” reads the statement in part.

The organisations also urge states to adopt a domestic policy, legislative and administrative measures in line with the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa (2017-2021) to address the problem.

The organisations then invited the Pan African Parliament to adopt a resolution that endorses the Regional Action Plan on albinism and to urge member states to domesticate the plan to address challenges people with albinism face.

The signatory organisations include Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi, Centre for the Development of People, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance, Malawi Law Society, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Public Affairs Committee, Southern African Litigation Centre and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

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