Amnesty International has warned that the number of attacks on people with albinism has risen in Malawi, calling on authorities to bring those responsible for the crimes to justice. “The unprecedented wave of brutal attacks against people with albinism has created a climate of terror for this vulnerable group and their families,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s director for southern Africa, said on Tuesday.
The body parts of albinos, who lack pigments in their skin, hair and eyes, are sold for witchcraft in North Africa. Their body parts are believed to bring wealth and good luck and are prized in witchcraft for use in charms and magical potions. The report condemned the Malawian authorities for “leaving this population group at the mercy of criminal gangs who hunt them down for their body parts.”
Amnesty said campaigners, police authorities, families and community leaders have all said that the number of attacks have increased recently. According to the report, April was the bloodiest month for such attacks in Malawi, with at least four people murdered, including a child aged under two. The parents of the child have been arrested as suspects. Simeon Mawanza, the lead researcher of the Amnesty report, said children with albinism have been sold by their parents.