People living with albinism in Malawi are at high risk of facing total extinction if they are continued to be killed for their body parts to be used in witchcraft, a UN expert has warned. A recent increase in attacks on Albinos in some regions of Africa has left them living in constant fear, as it is believed their body parts bring wealth and good luck.
As a result, attackers target their limbs or organs to be sold to witch doctors. Some even go the extent of taking their remains from the graveyard, Ikponwosa Ero, the UN's expert on albinism, has said.
Malawi has about 10,000 people with albinism, which is a genetic condition that leads to little or no pigment in the eyes, skin and hair.
Ero, who is an albino herself, visited Malawi recently as the attacks have been increasing. "Many do not sleep peacefully and have deliberately restricted their movement to the necessary minimum," she said.
She has urged the government to step in to protect albinos and go after the attackers more aggressively, CNN reported. She also feels the punishment for those who kill albinos is not stringent enough.
"It is clear that an urgent and coordinated response from the government, civil society and development partners working in strong partnership with each other is required. As pointed out by various stakeholders during my visit, stealing a cow may attract a higher penalty," Ero quipped.
According to reports, 65 cases have been recorded in Malawi between December 2014 and March 2016. As a result, the Malawian government appointed a special prosecutor to deal with attacks on albinos.