WINDHOEK - Participants at the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Albinism regional strategy meeting on combatting attacks, abductions, killings and discrimination against people with albinism appealed to SADC member states to pass a summit resolution roundly condemning attacks on people with albinism.
Amnesty International, albinism rights groups and participants gathered on Monday on the side-lines of the 38th SADC Summit of Heads of States and Government, to deliberate on a regional advocacy strategy and action plan to combat discrimination, abductions, attacks and killings of people with albinism in SADC. The heads of states are expected to attend the 38th Summit starting from tomorrow.
The side meeting convened by Amnesty International bringing into sharp focus indiscriminate attacks on albinos adopted ten resolutions.
“We urge member states, civil society organisations and communities of people with albinism and other key stakeholders to work together to address root causes of discrimination and violence against people with albinism and increase knowledge,” the participants resolved.
Moreover, Amnesty International says people with albinism across Africa face the persistent threat of being killed for their body parts due to stereotypical beliefs that these parts bring wealth and good luck.
In countries such as Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, impunity for these crimes has fueled vicious attacks against this vulnerable group, the rights group said in a statement last week. Amnesty International in SADC works to prevent human rights abuse and holds governments and corporates accountable for their actions. The meeting on Monday also wants SADC members to take measures to prevent and reduce all forms of discrimination against people with albinism through legislative, affirmative steps and institutional reforms.
SADC members are also urged to conduct comprehensive awareness campaigns to combat stereotypes and prejudices in communities.
They also called on SADC member states to sign, ratify and enact the United Nations Convention on the Rights of people with disabilities and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of persons with albinism in Malawi.
“We urge states to enhance regional cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of cross-border crimes against people with albinism, particularly cases of abduction, murder and trafficking of body parts,” read one of the resolutions.
As President Hage Geingob takes over as SADC chairperson this weekend, Amnesty International wants the regional bloc to ensure its members strengthen criminal justice systems to protect albinos.
The Deputy Minister for Disability Affairs in the Namibian Presidency, Alexia Manombe-Ncube said her department would work with Amnesty International to make sure the issues of people with albinism and disabilities are advocated for vigorously.
“After the summit I would like to try and make an appointment with our President just to bring to his attention that we would like to take up these issues, and as a country that is having the chairmanship, we should take up these issues and champion them at regional level,” said Manombe-Ncube.