, 23 September, 2020 / 8:15 PM
At an ongoing training focusing on ways of improving lives of people with albinism, a Bishop in Malawi has underscored the responsibility to respect the rights of people living with albinism so that they do not live in fear.
“As a Church, we have a huge responsibility to protect people, mainly those with albinism by ensuring that they enjoy equal access to justice and good health care services, just like any other person,” Bishop George Desmond Tambala of Malawi’s Zomba Diocese has been quoted as saying Wednesday, September 23.
Bishop Tambala who was presiding over the official launch of the two-day training for Priests, chiefs and head teachers on ways of improving lives of people with albinism through access to justice and quality health care services said people of albinism have suffered attacks.
“People with albinism suffer serious violations of their rights and risk losing lives in attacks, hence the need for the Church and all other stakeholders to join forces to ensure that these people are not living in fear,” the Malawian Bishop said
Organized by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Zomba Diocese, the workshop is part of the national CCJP’s two-year campaign to raise awareness throughout the country about the rights of people with albinism.
According to a 2019 report by Amnesty International (AI) on albinism in Malawi, “Since November 2014, the number of reported cases of attacks against people with albinism has risen to 148 cases, including 14 murders and seven attempted murders.”
“People living with albinism in Malawi live in fear of being killed or abducted for their body parts. These waves of violent attacks are fueled by the false and dangerous myth that body parts of people with albinism can make someone rich,” Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena has been quoted as saying in the 2019 AI report.
In his address during the training that kicked off September 23, the Local Ordinary of Zomba who is a member of the Order of Discalced Carmelites further said that taking care of vulnerable groups of people like those with albinism is “one of the main focus areas of the Diocesan five-year Strategic Plan (2017-2022) and the workshop complements the efforts of the Diocese.”
Also speaking at the workshop, the Chairman of the Association of People with Albinism (APAM) in Zomba District, Mr. William Masapi, thanked the leadership of Zomba Diocese for organizing the workshop saying that “it has come at a right time when lives of people with albinism are at great risk.”
“The abuses people with albinism face have an adverse spiritual and social-economic impact because these people live in hiding such that they cannot participate and contribute significantly to the development of their families, churches and the country at large,” the APAM official said.
The current population of people with albinism in Malawi is estimated to be between 7,000 and 10,000, representing a ratio of 1 in every 1,800 people in the Southern African nation.
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