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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

Hilde Vautmans, Marietje Schaake, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Filiz Hyusmenova, Javier Nart, Valentinas Mazuronis, Nedzhmi Ali, Petras Auštrevičius, Marielle de Sarnez, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, José Inácio Faria, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Nathalie Griesbeck, Antanas Guoga, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Louis Michel, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Carolina Punset, Robert Rochefort, Jasenko Selimovic, Hannu Takkula, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Paavo Väyrynen, Ivo Vajgl, Angelika Mlinar on behalf of the ALDE Group

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

Proċedura : 2016/2807(RSP)
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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,

-having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights in particular its Articles 2 and 3,

-having regard to the resolution 47/135 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 1992 on the Declaration on the Rights of the Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,

-having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights,

-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 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which entered into force on 3 May 2008,

-having regard to the statement by President Peter Mutharika on 19 March 2016;

-having regard to the resolution 23/13 on Attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism adopted by the Human Rights Council on 24 June 2013,

-having regard to the Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released on 12 September 2013,

-having regard to the Report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on10 February 2015 the study on the situation of human rights of persons living with albinism released on,

-having regard to the resolution A/HCR/RES/28/6 adopted by the Human Rights Council on 10 April 2015 which established for a period of three years the mandate of an Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism,

-having regard to Rule 123 of the Rules of Procedure,






A.whereas albinism, a congenital disorder which causes a lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes, affects about o1 in 20 000 people globally, but in sub-Saharan Africa the incidence is higher, typically as common as 1 in 5 000 and in Tanzania it is 1 in 1 400; whereas the UN officially declared 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day;

B.whereas persecution and discrimination against albino people in parts of Africa have been well documented and Malawi is one of twenty three countries in Africa, including Kenia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Burundi, where superstitious notions about albinism put individuals at daily risk for bodily harm;

C.whereas in several African countries witchdoctors spread serious allegations that albinos are supposed to have bones and other body parts that have magical and medicinal properties: beliefs such as earning wealth, boosting political career, promoting traditional leadership, HIV-Aids healing are the most commons ; whereas such harmful beliefs and myths put the security and life of persons with albinism at risk and let them living in constant fear; whereas the influence of the witchdoctors have driven to the killing of albino people and even excavating dead bodies and bones;

D.whereas according to a report by “Under The Same Sun” (-UTSS- a Canadian advocacy charity) on 24 October 2015 regarding the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Malawi)http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared Documents/MWI/INT_CEDAW_NGO_MWI_22043_E.pdf, there have been 422 reported attacks since the beginning of the new millennium including 162 documented murders of people with albinism and 260 cases of missing persons, assault, mutilation, rape, attempted abductions, grave violence and other acts of violence;

E.whereas like in many stigmatised communities, women and girls with albinism are more vulnerable to social exclusion within the family, in the community and the country at large leaving them isolated; whereas some school children with albinism are reluctant to attend school as they fear being laughed at and called cruel names which are intended not only to degrade and hurt them but also to discriminate them against in the education system;

F.whereas women and girls with albinism are more likely to experience more sexual violence as a result of persistent myths; whereas there are instances where mothers of children with albinism having been persecuted for just giving birth to a child with albinism;

G.whereas according to an UN expert seventy five Tanzanians albino people, including a one-year-old albino boy, have been killed since 2000; whereas the Tanzanian government has adopted some effective measures including the suspension of traditional healers’ licences to practice, in order to address the killing of albinos;

H.whereas an albino woman, advocate for the rights of people with albinism, Ms. Al-Shaymaa Kwegyir, was appointed to serve as a Member of Parliament Tanzania on 8 April 2008 to show solidarity with the Tanzanian albino community and to reduce the stigma that is associated with albinism; whereas Mr. Isaac Maigua Mwaura (a founder and Vice Chairman of the Albinism Society of Kenya) has been elected as Kenya’s first Member of the National Assembly with albinism in March 2013;

I. whereas the Tanzanian government banned witchdoctors in January 2015 and arrested more than 200 traditional healers in a crackdown on crimes against albino people; whereas seventeen people have been sentenced to death in Tanzania as on March 2015 for killing albinos;

J.whereas Tanzanian government efforts to protect albino people has led to increased attacks in neighbouring countries such as Malawi which has now become the centre of international attention on the issue of people with albinism; whereas Malawi is one of the world’s least developed countries (ranked 170th out of 187) and where the situation of most of its people is a potent mix of poverty, witchcraft beliefs and market forces, some are pushed to commit crimes such as “albino hunting” for the earnings; whereas according to Amnesty International the wave of violent attacks against people with albinism has increased sharply over the last two years; whereas according to the International Red Cross, a “complete set” of albino bones can be sold for up to $75 000 in Tanzania;

K. whereas according to the Malawi Police Service, at least sixty nine cases involving crimes related to people with albinism have been reported since November 2014; whereas the real number of people with albinism killed is likely to be much higher due the Malawian police lacking resources and adequate training and skills needed to investigate such crimes and to the fact that many secretive rituals in rural areas are never reported;

L.whereas the Deputy Director of Community Police said on 13 June 2016 that, so far, 30 cases have been completed, 17 cases are in court and 36 cases are under investigation; whereas it is likely that some police officers carry the same prejudices against albino people that exists within the wider society and they fail to take human rights abuses against albino people seriously;

M.whereas Bonface Massah, head of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi said on 6 May 2016 that the community had seen an increase in attacks over the three previous months sparking concerns that not enough is being done to protect their rights and although the authorities have arrested some perpetrators; whereas the Malawian government has failed to protect the albino people, leaving this group to the mercy of criminal gangs;

N.whereas Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, the UN’s Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism warned, on 29 April 2016, that Malawi’s estimated 10 000 albino people face “extinction” if the killing continues; whereas attacks against such people this year have also been reported in Burundi, Mozambique and Zambia, according to the Canadian advocacy charity UTSS;


1.recalls that the people with albinism have the right to live like anyone else without any kind of fear as stated in Articles 2 and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;

2.welcomes the statement by President Peter Mutharika condemning attacks on persons with albinism and calling on security agencies both to arrest people responsible for such attacks and to provide maximum protection to persons with albinism;

3.strongly condemns the abhorrent killings as well as the stigma of people with albinism everywhere in Africa and notably in Malawi; strongly condemns the trading of their body parts;

4.stresses that it is fundamentally important to take effective measures to ensure the security of albino people even by monitoring them in order to prevent further attacks; welcomes the arrest of 47 suspects in connection with the killing of albino people in Malawi;

5.Urges the Malawian authorities to seek, as matter of urgency, international support to conduct investigations and ensure accountability for crimes committed against people with albinism, and bring perpetrators of these gross human rights abuses to justice in accordance with its regional and international human rights obligations;

6.Calls on the authorities to provide victims and their families with effective remedies, redress and rehabilitation, including medical and psychological support; requires the authorities to implement policy measures to address the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination faced by women and girls with albinism; calls for a close partnership with the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi in the development of any policy measures that may affect persons with albinism;

7.calls on the Malawian government for the enforcement of the five-point action plan unveiled in March 2015 and which is supported by the UN which comprise the development of an education and awareness programme and increased cooperation with civil society organisations; calls for improved training in the field of education to clear out traditional beliefs discriminating people with albinism and allow albino children to go to school without any fear of being kidnapped, killed or just beaten up;

8.calls on the authorities of the countries where albino people are attacked or killed to step up efforts to bring the “albino people hunters” and those who trade in body parts to justice; urges all authorities of concerned countries to undertake immediate actions launching awareness campaigns to end the stigma and discrimination associated with albinism; considers that such measures should particularly be implemented in rural areas where people tend to be less educated and more superstitious;

9.expresses its appreciation and support for the work of the Canadian UTSS in its campaign to teach Tanzanians and Malawians that their albino neighbours have no magic power; calls on the Commission to actively support this NGO and the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi to encourage supplying the albino children adequate protection from the sun, as most of persons with albinism die of skin cancer;

10.calls on the Commission to help to promote and protect albino people in Africa and notably in Malawi; calls on the Commission and Member States to support national efforts in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and notably in Malawi to implement policies to address the needs and the rights of people with albinism, based on non-discrimination and social inclusion;

11.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the African Union, the ACP-EU Council, the Secretary-General of the UN, the UN Human Rights Council and the President and Parliament of the Republic of Malawi.