Amnesty International Hunted For Their Body Parts


Amnesty International Hunted For Their Body Parts

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[Amnesty International Hunted For Their Body Parts]

In Malawi, they are called [mzungu dala] a fake white person or simply [Azungu] a ghost. They are upto 10,000 of them and they claim they are hunted like animals.

People think that our bones, our hair has some powers, blood can bring wealth or sometimes can bring luck.


These are people who suffer from a rare non-contagious genetically inherited condition, which is present at birth albinism. And here in the Southern African country and elsewhere on the continent they’re discriminated against abducted and unbelievably killed for their body parts, which are used in traditional medicine and ritual practices. Edna is the mother of twins born with albinism. Her story is shocking.

A group of men entered the house after breaking the door. When inside they tore the mosquito net. They grabbed me and my child by throat, one of them was after me and the others were trying to get one of the twins. When they grabbed the child by the head, I grabbed him by the legs and we pulled the child in different directions in my bid to rescue him. Then one of them who was outside issued instructions that they should just cut my arm. One of them fished out a “panga” knife and cut me on my arm so I released the child and they took him. The twin asks me “Where is my nene?” He just used to call him “nene” (brother).

Since 2014, there has been an unprecedented wave of violence against people with albinism in Malawi.

At least 18 have died and five others have been abducted and are still missing.

The bloodiest month recorded by Amnesty International was April 2016.

When four people with albinism were reported murdered including a baby.

Even the dead are not left in peace.

The Malawi police service has recorded at least 39 cases of the illegal exhumation of the bodies of people with albinism or of people caught in possession of bones and other body parts taken from corpses.

[Grace Massah (Vice Principal, Nkhoma School of Nursing and Midwifery, Malawi):] Source:
And that has put no fear terminating lives because people are hungry for money they want to be rich in two seconds and the witch doctors tell them something which is difficult to find. So if you want to be rich, find the bones of a person with albinism.

Why? Because throughout Africa, where witchcraft is still practiced. Some believe you can only succeed in business through magic or that bones of people with albinism contain gold and using their body parts in charms and magical portions could bring good fortune.

[Grace Massah (Vice Principal, Nkhoma School of Nursing and Midwifery, Malawi):] Source:
It’s really pathetic, unheard of and something we never thought that it can really happen amongst us and it has really raised fear and imagine the thoughts to say “What do I do?” “Shall I lock up in my house?” “Why should people are hunting me like they’re hunting for animals to eat?”

[Dr. Tenganawo Mzumara (Dermatologist, Chipatala Cha Ziwengo Hospital):] Source:
People with albinism are normal just like us but they just don’t have this component of melanin, that’s why their skin colour is different from a black person.

I would love it if we were protected. I can say that I am insecure because I know someone from my area who was also killed I feel really insecure.

Women and children with albinism are particularly vulnerable to abduction and killings by criminal gangs that may include even close relatives who see them as soft targets.

I went to the field and I left the children on their own. Three men came to the house and one started beating the elder child, Agnes. Another grabbed the youngest, Chakupatsa and they ran away. Agnes cried for help and started running to the field to inform me. Some villagers came and ran after them. The abductors dumped the child in the nearby bush. The villagers found the child and grabbed one abductor. The abductor was taken to police and later to Zomba (where he died).

The one who abducted the child is my auntie’s son (my mum’s elder sister).

I considered him as my brother. Agnes lives in fear, she can’t go to the maize mill or even to school because she is always afraid.

Amnesty International believes that the Malawi authorities’ initial response to the abduction and killing of people with albinism was more of a kneejerk reaction and they failed to end the violence against these marginalized group.

[Bonface Massah (President of APAM):] Source:
In Malawi even parents, real parents are involved in the attacks or involved in setting up the gangs to attack people with albinism. The biggest gap was parents couldn’t really understand why we are white in a majority of black society.

They deny, they say that the woman has slept maybe with a Caucasian, they don’t accept the child because they do not understand, so it’s all about lack of knowledge and ignorance so if our country would take the time to educate the people about this condition then this can be altogether prevented.

But there is also another problem suffered by this minority, exclusion and abuse within their own communities and it starts from a very early age.

My friends and even the other elder people in the community they called me bad names, and others would regularly stop and look at me “Why is he white?” At that time, I was so young I could not even explain why I am white.

[Overstone Kondowe (Prog. Manager UNICEF):] Source:
There are also a kind of beliefs that we don’t live longer. We die, we are a ghost, we just disappear so, as such employers are not ready to get you employed because they think, that you one or two days after you may disappear.

Amnesty International is calling on the Malawi government and the international community to take a more active role to protect people with albinism by adopting specific measures to preserve their basic human rights.

I would like the government to punish those involved in the malpractice so that persons with albinism like me can live freely.

We demand the Malawi Government adopts specific measures to protect and preserve the rights to life and security of people with Albinism.

Amnesty International Hunted For Their Body Parts

Amnesty International Hunted For Their Body Parts

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Amnesty International Hunted For Their Body Parts. Protect and preserve the rights to life and security of people with Albinism.
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