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Madagascar: people with albinism are the targets of frequent attacks, warn experts

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People with albinism live in fear and will continue to be at risk of attack unless urgent action is taken » said these experts. “The most recent attack was reported only a few days ago and, tragically, the majority of the victims are children »noted these three experts* in a joint press release.

More than a dozen kidnappings, attacks and murders have been reported over the past two years in various regions of Madagascar, including Atsimo-Andrefana, Menabe, Haute Matisatra, Ihorombe and Anosi. The authentic number of attacks is likely higher and could increase.

Superstitions and traffic

Gruesome attacks and murders involve mutilation and dismemberment based on dangerously false beliefs that these body parts can be used in rituals to bring luck and protection.

The dismembered body parts could be trafficked across borders across the region, where the worrying trade would serve a wealthy and influential clientele, experts said.

“We understand that the country is currently facing immense challenges following Cyclones Ana and Batsirai, the Covid-19 pandemic and the dramatic effects of the drought in the south. »they said.

“But that is precisely why urgent protection is needed for people with albinism. These attacks are fueled by mythical beliefs that rituals can bring better fortune. The dire economic situation in the country could be fertile ground for an increase in human rights violations against people with albinism »; did they add.

They demanded that the government strengthen its efforts to protect people with albinism, especially women, children and the elderly who have been victims of these horrific crimes.

“Humanitarian efforts must also take into account the specific needs of people with albinism who are disproportionately affected by the situation in the country. », noted the experts.

They also stressed the need to prioritize education and awareness programs on the plight of people with albinism in order to counter the horrific myths that led to their murder.

“We stand ready to engage and provide assistance, in accordance with our mandates, to the government and its partners in this endeavour. »the experts said.

*The experts : Muluka-Anne Miti-Drummond, Independent Expert on the exercise of human rights by persons with albinism; Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities; Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions

NOTE :

The Independent Experts are part of what are called the special procedures of the Human Rights Council. The term “special procedures”, which refers to the largest body of independent experts within the UN human rights system, is generally attributed to the independent investigation and monitoring mechanisms established by the Human Rights Council. to address specific country situations or thematic issues in all regions of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and exercise their functions in an individual capacity.

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