Persons with albinism in Malawi face a number of challenges as a vulnerable group: Bonface Chibwana, CCJP National Coordinator

The Catholic Commission for justice and peace (CCJP) has called for more action by government and relevant authorities to safeguard the rights of persons with albinism in the country.

This was expressed during a lobbying engagement meeting with various parliamentary committees namely the Legal affairs committee, Social welfare Committee and the Health Committee of parliament. The meeting aimed at sharing experiences, practices, insights and strategizing on the way forward in addressing the human rights challenges facing persons with albinism.

Mr. Chibwana said the involvement of legislators is meant to bring genuine and meaningful change on the rights of people with albinism especially on access to justice and health care

“It is no secret that persons with albinism in Malawi face a number of challenges as a vulnerable group. They are hunted like animals for their body parts; the country has had ritual killings and attacks and abductions over the years. Even when the cases have been reported with the criminal justice system, there have been delays to conclude such cases as law enforcement agencies such as the Malawi Police Service and the Judiciary are presently facing critical institutional and financial challenges to dispense justice on cases involving killings, attacks and abduction of these vulnerable people”. Said the CCJP national Coordinator

He continued that access to health care service is another human rights challenge people with albinism are facing. This is because sunscreen lotion cannot be accessed in nearby health facilities but in faraway district hospitals with short supply. In addition to that, people with albinism do not access inclusive education due to unavailability of appropriate learning materials and inclusive education teachers in the country.

While appreciating efforts that are being made to safeguard rights of people with albinism like the adoption of the National action Plan on Persons with Albinism (2018-2022) by government, the CCJP coordinator said more needs to be done in terms of laws, policies, capacity building for law enforcement agencies, funding to agencies dealing with persons with albinism, mainstreaming of disability in public service provision and decentralizing functions and services that serve people with albinism this marginalized group is to live a dignified life.

The lobbying meeting was one of the activities under the promoting and protecting the rights to healthcare and access to justice for people with albinism project being implemented in Mangochi and Zomba districts with funding from the European Union (EU) through the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).