An online petition aimed at forcing the Malawi government and President Peter Mutharika to take a former stand to curb killings of people with albinism has garnered close to 40,000 signatures in under a week.
The petition, by Care2, seeks to raise global awareness on albino killings aside forcing the government and state agencies to put more effort in addressing the problem.
According to Malawi Police figures, as quoted by Amnesty International, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi since November 2014 had risen to 148 cases, including 14 murders and seven attempted murders by June 2018.
However, Amnesty states they established that at least 21 people with albinism had been killed since 2014.
By June 2018, only 30 per cent of the 148 reported cases against people with albinism had been concluded, according to the statistics from the Malawi Police Service and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. By that date, only one murder and one attempted murder cases had been successfully prosecuted.
Apparently, even the police have raised concerns with Amnesty about delays in concluding trials, "due to the limited number of senior magistrates qualified to deal with cases relating to people with albinism".
Just last month, the ugly face of this cruel and barbaric act showed again with the abduction and missing of 18-month-old baby Eunice Nkhonjera in Karonga which comes barely weeks after the brutal killing of 52-year-old Yassin Phiri of Nkhata Bay.
“This madness can't go on and we must stop it! As citizens, hand in hand with our international friends, would like to call upon President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Honourable Nicholas Dausi, The Inspector General of the Malawi Police Rodney Jose, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to:
“Institute a national programme that will identify and document all people with albinism from Chitipa to Nsanje. This must be done through chiefs and their subjects, placing responsibility on them. New births of children with this condition must be registered with the police. The aim here is to offer coordinated protection to these people and such data should only be available to the police hierarchy and top government level,” the petition reads.
It demands for the enactment of a law specifically for people with albinism, designed to protect them by educating the masses through banning of derogatory words such as “napweli”.
It also calls on the creation of a special unit within the police force and fund it to the tune of $100,000 (K75 million) annually to adequately investigate crimes related to albinism and bring the perpetrators of albinism-related crimes to justice.
“Cases of this nature must be prioritised through the courts and a team of special magistrates must be trained to handle such cases. We also call on the government to embark on civic education of the entire nation on albinism in order to tackle the harmful superstitious beliefs perpetuating this barbarism.”
Care2 is a network of about 45 million people around the globe, dedicated to building a better world. We use our cutting-edge technology and team of experienced campaigners to fuel the progressive movement by uniting our members with nonprofits and mission-based brands working on the causes they care about.
According to a profile on their website, Care2 Stands Against: bigots, bullies, science deniers, misogynists, gun lobbyists, xenophobes, the willfully ignorant, animal abusers, frackers, and other mean people.