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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation of albinos in Africa, notably in Malawi

5.7.2016 - (2016/2807(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Pier Antonio Panzeri, Victor Boştinaru, Knut Fleckenstein, Richard Howitt, Jude Kirton-Darling, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Norbert Neuser, Elena Valenciano, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, Nikos Androulakis, Francisco Assis, Zigmantas Balčytis, Hugues Bayet, Brando Benifei, José Blanco López, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Simona Bonafè, Biljana Borzan, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Nicola Caputo, Andi Cristea, Miriam Dalli, Nicola Danti, Isabella De Monte, Jonás Fernández, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Enrico Gasbarra, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Neena Gill, Sylvie Guillaume, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Anna Hedh, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Agnes Jongerius, Eva Kaili, Afzal Khan, Jeppe Kofod, Javi López, Krystyna Łybacka, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Costas Mavrides, Marlene Mizzi, Sorin Moisă, Alessia Maria Mosca, Victor Negrescu, Momchil Nekov, Vincent Peillon, Pina Picierno, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Miroslav Poche, Liliana Rodrigues, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Tibor Szanyi, Paul Tang, Claudia Țapardel, Marc Tarabella, Marita Ulvskog, Flavio Zanonato, Damiano Zoffoli, Edward Czesak on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0897/2016

Procedure : 2016/2807(RSP)
Stadium plenaire behandeling
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European Parliament resolution on the situation of albinos in Africa, notably in Malawi


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on serious human rights violations, including its resolution of 4 September 2008 on the killing of albinos in Tanzania

- having regards to the ACP- EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement

- having regards to the statement of Marchel Gerrmann, the EU ambassador, on 9 May 2016

- having regards to a European Commission Web Release of 29 May 2015 announcing the National Indicative Programme for Malawi

–  having regard to the United Nations General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights which was adopted on 27 June 1981 and entered into force on 21 October 1986,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted on 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990, and which is binding and applied without exception,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities of 18 December 1992,

-   having regard to the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism of 24 June 2013

–  having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Malawi is one of the 23 African countries where extreme forms of discrimination against people with albinism are prevalent; whereas as party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Malawi government is legally obliged to protect all people in Malawi, including vulnerable groups such as people with albinism;

B. whereas between 7,000 and 10,000 with albinism live in Malawi, with the Malawi Police Service having seen reports of at least 69 cases of crimes related to people with albinism since November 2014, of which 18 were murders; whereas the authorities do not systematically monitor and document such crimes, and the Police Service lacks the capacity and resources for thorough investigations and has often allowed people who have potentially killed albinos to avoid facing serious charges; whereas some activists have expressed concern that some law enforcement officers could be prejudiced towards people with albinism, and therefore apparently do not take cases of human rights abuses against albinos seriously;

C. whereas due to widespread superstitions and myths about albinism found in society in Malawi, people with albinism are at risk of abductions, killings and mutilations, with graves of albinos often ransacked, in order to remove bones and sell them for the alleged use in charms and magical potions in Malawi and Mozambique;

D. whereas the mutilated body of a 30-year-old woman with albinism, Jenifer Namusyo, was found in the Phalombe District on 30 April 2016, with stab wounds and body parts missing;

E. whereas a 17-year-old boy with albinism, David Fletcher Machinjiri, left his home in the Dedza district on 24 April 2016 to watch a football game, and was apparently abducted, trafficked to Mozambique and murdered by approximately four men; with his remains found with body parts mission in Mozambique on 1 May 2016; following which two men were convicted;

F. whereas Whitney Chilumpha, a 23-month old girl with albinism, was kidnapped from her home in the Kasungu district on the night of 3/4 April 2016 with her remains later found with body parts missing; whereas Whitney’s father and four other men have been held on suspicion of involvement in the abduction and killing of the child; Whitney is the second person with albinism to have been killed in her district in 2016;

G.whereas people with albinism are apparently often excluded from registration for government poverty alleviation programmes, such as the Social Cash Transfer programme, due to their condition;

H. whereas when the rise in attacks against people with albinism in Malawi was reported in 2015, many people started to restrict their movements, partly due to the lack of visible and effective policing; the fear of attacks has infringed on the right to education for school-age children and the rights to work and earn a living for adults;

I.whereas the situation of women with albinism in Malawi is more precarious, as they are at risk of being killed and sold for body parts, or raped and sexually abused, due to the widespread belief that sexual intercourse with a woman with albinism can cure HIV/AIDS;

J. whereas Malawi was ranked the 13th worst performing economy in the World Economic Forum’s 2014/2015 Global Competitiveness report, and is witnessing increased food insecurity due to the El Nino-related drought; whereas activists have claimed that extreme deprivation, combined with the superstitions surrounding the body parts of albinos, has led to an increase in crimes against such groups;

K. whereas EU-Malawi relations are based on the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which provides a framework for respect for universal human rights and sustainable development; whereas through the European Development Fund’s National Indicative Programme for the period 2014-2020, the European Union has pledged to provide Malawi EUR 560 million, of which EUR 120 million will be allocated for governance and EUR 160 million for secondary education and vocational training;

1. calls upon the authorities in Malawi to bring perpetrators of crimes against people with albinism to justice, and to protect its citizens by providing visible policing in communities where attacks against albinos are rife; urges the police forces in Malawi to revisit cases of suspected grave robberies in order to establish the exact source of the human bones, to trace and identify the source of demand for such body parts and to cooperate with neighbouring countries in cases of human and body-part trafficking;

2.calls upon the authorities in Malawi to tackle the roots of social stigma against people with albinism through public awareness campaigns; this should include tackling the myths that body parts of people with albinism have magical properties and that albino women can cure HIV/AIDS;

3. urges the Malawian government to better meet the medical, psychological and social needs of albinos, through public awareness campaigns and measures such as providing affordable, if not free services at government health facilities and community health centres, and providing support to families of albino children; suggests that the authorities ensure that health personnel are giving sensitivity training on albinism;

4. requests that the Malawian authorities facilitate the educational experience of people with albinism and disabilities by providing learning devices as well as educating teachers and school administrations about the issues pupils with albinism face and tackling bullying in schools;

5. welcomes the UN Human Rights Council creation of the position of Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism in 2015, as well as his subsequent launch of the first-ever regional forum for Action of Albinism in Africa in Dar El Salaam between 17 and 19 June 2016;

6. commends the efforts made by civil society organisations, such as the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) and the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA), to engage with the government, advocating for justice for victims, and to conduct studies, combat harmful myths and to support distressed individuals and their families;

7. welcomes the acceptance of four recommendations to promote and protect the rights of persons with Albinism by Malawi after 2015 Universal Periodic Review; commends the establishment of a National Steering Committee on Attacks on Persons with Albinism and the subsequent National Response Plan in March 2015 which aims to raise awareness, increase internal security, improve human rights monitoring, administration of justice, and legislation, as well as empowering people with albinism; demands that the authorities allocate more resources to this project;

8. Calls on the Council and the Commission to closely monitor the human rights situation of albinos in Malawi and in the region, and to encourage and support with the necessary resources effective measures by affected countries aimed at protecting persons with albinism and eliminating any type of discrimination against them;

9. encourages all affected states to share best practices in protecting and promoting the rights of persons with albinism;

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the African Union, the Government and Parliament of Malawi, the UN Secretary-General, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the ACP Council.