Rights group Amnesty International has requested Malawian authorities to tackle the issue of deadly attacks on its citizens with albinism.
The population of people with albinism in Malawi is between 7 000 and 10 000, representing a ratio of 1 in every 1 800 persons.
“Malawi’s general elections, due next week, will take place in the context of longstanding criminal justice failures and widespread impunity for the killing of people with albinism,” Amnesty International Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said in a statement.
He said people with albinism continue to live in fear of being killed or abducted for their body parts in Malawi.
“These waves of violent attacks are fuelled by the false and dangerous myth that body parts of people with albinism can make someone rich,” Muchena said.
He added, “As Malawians go to the polls, it is time for the country to break with years of impunity for the killings and mutilation of people with albinism; atrocities which remain unresolved owing to criminal justice failures and ineffective criminal investigations.”
The official said official figures show that the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to over 163 cases, including 22 murders since November 2014.
“The incoming government of Malawi must prioritise rebuilding the criminal justice system, ensuring that it works for all people, including people with albinism, who are some of society’s most vulnerable individuals,” Muchena said.