Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Why albinos hunted in Africa for their body parts
A new report from Amnesty International titled "We are not animals to be hunted or sold" sheds light on a disturbing trend that is on the rise in Malawi, a southeastern African country, ironically nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa" - violence against albinos - including harassment, abduction, rape, mutilation and murder.
What is albinism?
Albinism is a congenital disorder resulting in complete or partial absence of pigment in skin, hair and eyes. Affected people have white skin and hair, and in some cases, reddish eyes. The condition can lead to vision loss, extreme sun-sensitivity and psychological issues stemming from embarrassment.
Superstition in Africa
Body parts of albinistic people have magical powers and bring good luck.
Albinos are being hunted for their body parts.
At least 18 people have been killed and at least 5 people have been abducted since 2014 who remain missing till date.
Albinos are being targeted for their body parts and this superstition has pushed more than 7,000 - 10,000 albinos to a lead a life in constant fear of being murdered by criminal gangs. Over 69 cases of crimes related to people with albinism have been reported to the Malawi Police. However, the Police maintain they're doing 'everything they can' and often point to the shoot at sight order against anyone who is suspected to be a 'albino hunter'.
Sadly, neither the Malawian police nor the Government of Malawi, have been successful in ensuring security of albinos living in the country. The government also failed to educate the citizens about the natural causes of albinism and eradicate superstitious beliefs.
Uninitiated about the natural causes of albinism, many families abandon albinistic members and that makes things easier for criminal.
Height of superstitious beliefs
Talking of superstitious beliefs, myth that body parts of albinos have magical powers is not the most ridiculous one, but the belief that having sex with an albino woman will cure HIV/AIDS. As a direct implication, women face a bigger threat of rape and sexual assaults. Women and children are attacked more because criminals see them as easy targets.
Another myth is that bones of albinistic people contain gold or have medicinal, magical powers. A report from the International Committee of the Red Cross says that the criminals resort to such violence against albinos hoping they can make money as high as $75,000 (approximately Rs 4,50,000) by selling a 'full set' of albino body pars.
Ikponwosa Ero, an independent albinism expert working with the United Nations and an albino herself, told Al Jazeera that albinos in Malawai, neighboring Tanzania and Mozambique cannot even "die in peace" as their remains are robbed from graveyards.
It is said that if authorities stay blind folded towards the issues of albinos, they will face "total extinction".
Posted by wikisabah at 4:21:00 PM