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Animal Rights

Malawi, people with albinism are hunted and killed in the name of superstition

Amnesty International denuncia la strage in corso nello stato africano, dove gli albini vengono uccisi e fatti a pezzi per fabbricare talismani impiegati nella medicina tradizionale.

Hunted, caught, and cut in pieces. This is usually what happens to animals due to poaching. However, we’re not talking about rhinos or elephants, but human beings. In Malawi, numerous men, women and children with albinism are killed or mutilated every year, and their body parts are sold for rituals.

Bambino albino mutilato
The persecution of African people with albinism is carried out in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi

Amnesty International’s denounce

According to Amnesty International, April was the bloodiest month, with at least 18 albinos killed. The humanitarian organisation’s report We are not Animals toa be Hunted or Sold shows that since 2014, Malawi has seen a sharp increase in human rights abuses against people with albinism, including abductions, killings and grave robberies, making them live in fear.

It’s all about money

Body parts belonging to a person with albinism are worth up to 65,000 euros, an exorbitant price for a country like Malawi, where most of the people live below the poverty line. Such amount of money leads families to be easily bribed to make criminals get their hands on their kids. Children are the most common victims because, according to shamans, their innocence increases the rituals’ effects.

Body parts belonging to people with albinism are believed to have magical properties

What is albinism

Albinism is anything but a congenital disorder characterised by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes that results in a fairer colouring.

What’s behind the persecution

In Africa, people living with albinism have long been the victims of a cruel persecution because they’re considered as carriers of misfortune. They’re socially excluded and they’re not even seen as human beings, but demons immune to death. Women with albinism risk being raped as people think that sexual intercourses with them could treat AIDS.

A blood-stained superstition

Considered bewitched, the bodies of people with albinism are the ingredients of shamanic rituals for prosperity and fortune. Shamans still play a central role in many African communities, and they buy body parts for making potions and amulets.

Manifestazione di protesta contro le violenze sugli albini
Protests against attacks on people with albinism to urge the government to take action

Amnesty’s plea

These crimes are highly profitable and often go unpunished. That’s why many believe that this “trade” is managed by the representatives of the country’s social-economic élite. Amnesty International made a plea to the President of the Republic of Malawi, urging to ensure an effective protection of people with albinism and guarantee their rights to life and personal security.

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