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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Situation of people with albinism in Malawi and other African countries

3.10.2017 - (2017/2868(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, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Javier Nart, Petras Auštrevičius, Marietje Schaake, Urmas Paet, Pavel Telička, Louis Michel, Frédérique Ries, Nathalie Griesbeck, Jasenko Selimovic, Gérard Deprez, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Marian Harkin, Dita Charanzová, Cecilia Wikström, Ivan Jakovčić, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Robert Rochefort, Martina Dlabajová, Nedzhmi Ali, Patricia Lalonde, Ivo Vajgl, Paavo Väyrynen, Filiz Hyusmenova, Valentinas Mazuronis on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0543/2017

Postupak : 2017/2868(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Situation of people with albinism in Malawi and other African countries


The European Parliament,

having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

having regard to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

having regard to the UN General Assembly resolutions condemning the discrimination against persons with albinism[1];

having regard of UN General Assembly resolution on an Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with albinism[2],

having regard to Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

having regard to its resolution on the situation of persons with albinism in Africa, notably in Malawi, of 7 July 2016[3],

having regard to the decision of the Commission of 28 April 2017 on the individual measure in favour of the Republic of Malawi to be financed from the 11th European Development Fund[4],

having regard to the Statements of the European External Action Service on International Albinism Awareness Day of 13 June 2016[5] and 13 June 2017,

having regard to the Cotonou Agreement between the Africa Caribbean Pacific Group of Countries and the European Union[6],


A.whereas it is known that albinism is a congenital disorder affecting about one in 20,000 people worldwide, this dermatologic characteristic is even more frequent in sub-Saharan countries, with Tanzania, Burundi and Malawi having the highest concentrations of people with albinism;

B.whereas over the past nine months there was a new wave of brutal attacks and killings against albino people in Malawi; since January 2017, at least two people with albinism have been killed and seven more have been the victim of attempted murder or abduction

C.whereas the criminal justice system in Malawi fails and the government refuses to protect persons with albinism and prosecute suspects accused of attacking and killing people with albinism; whereas in Malawi, 129 cases of attacks on persons with albinism, among them 21 murder cases have been reported in the country since 2014, according to the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM); whereas this absence of justice leaves 10,000 persons with albinism vulnerable and anxious for the criminal gangs, especially children;

D.Whereas children with albinism are often kept away from school, because they could be abducted or killed;

E.whereas in all across Africa, and in this decade, close to 200 killings and more than 600 attacks on people with albinism have been reported in 27 Sub-Saharan African countries

F.whereas Tanzania has the highest number of recorded attacks globally at more than 170 killings during the 2010s, according to UN High Commissioner of Human Rights

G.whereas there have also been reports of attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Burundi;

H.whereas the resolution of the UN General Assembly on an Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with albinism mandated the Council to appoint an Independent Expert for a period of three years on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with albinism[7];

I.whereas most of the anti-albino attacks are fuelled by rising demand for the body parts of people with this condition to be used in rituals by traditional shamans; whereas the hair and bones, genitals and thumbs of people with albinism are said to possess distinct powers; whereas alleged to bring wealth or success, they are often dried and ground, and traded illegally at regional, national and international level;

J.whereas persons with albinism face prejudice, harassment and violence in many parts of the world, and these trends are especially worrisome in Africa; whereas in certain countries, erroneous beliefs and primitive superstition have led to ritual tortures, killings, and abductions against persons with albinism, including children;

K.whereas in September 2016 Mozambique has gone through 100 attacks on albinos since 2014; whereas gangs also tend to cross the border between Mozambique and Malawi in order to commit such crimes against albinos;

L.whereas according to APAM, the 12-year-old Mayeso Isaac was abducted in his Malawian village and sold in Mozambique, where he was killed in a ritual killing[8];

M.whereas recently, a Mozambican 17-year-old was kidnapped, mutilated and killed after a witchcraft ritual, according to Mozambique’s AIM agency[9];

N.whereas there are special areas where albinos can live protected, such as the Kabanga Protectorate Centre in Tanzania; whereas Tanzania accounts over 17.000 persons with this skin condition, and the large majority of them, as in Malawi, Mozambique and other African countries, are not granted any type of education, as they could be also harassed by other children;

O.whereas the United Nations proclaimed in 2014 the International Albinism Awareness Day as an opportunity to focus on the difficulties faced by albinos, being also a day to acknowledge those activists who defend the rights of persons with albinism around the world; whereas this proclamation, together with the appointment of the first ever UN Independent Expert in 2015, has been a relevant step towards an increased responsiveness to this matter and to ending this discriminatory deed, stigmatisation and violence against persons with albinism around the world;

P.whereas the European Parliament has expressed deep concern the continuous widespread discrimination and persecution faced by persons of albinism in Africa;

Q.whereas the development of human rights within Malawi is critical to establishing stability and security within its population and that when such rights are ignored, marginalisation of certain persons prevent such a group from participating in and benefitting from development;

R.whereas persons with albinism face discrimination and barriers that restrict their participation in society on an equal basis with others every day and are unable to enjoy the full range of human rights and the same standards of equality, rights and dignity as others;

S.whereas on 15 August 2017, the Lilongwe magistrate court on Malawi sentenced eight men to six years’ imprisonment with hard labour for pleading guilty to an offence of conspiracy to commit murder and mutilation of 21-year-old Ebesi Nkhata, albino niece of one of the detainees; whereas the offence of conspiracy to commit a felony attracts a maximum sentence of seven years, according to Section 404 of the Penal Code;

T.whereas in Malawi APAM has urged the establishment of a local manufacturing company for sunscreen lotion which is to be used by albinos in order to protect them from direct sunlight, the main cause of skin cancer and other skin diseases, as this organisation has been advocating for free provision of the sunscreen lotion to albinos in all public health facilities in Malawi;


1.Strongly condemns any type of indiscriminate attack or crime against persons with albinism, as these kinds of attacks are also crimes against humanity;

2.Vehemently denounces the serious lack of justice granted and guaranteed by the Malawian administration and government to people with albinism;

3.Urgently calls for humanitarian aid organisations to be granted access to all areas where anti-albino attacks are being perpetrated;

4.Especially calls the Government of Malawi to act proactively against any criminal organisation having witchcraft and human trade its activity and to train and resource the police to adequately investigate the crimes against persons with albinism

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

6.Demands the EU and its member States to keep engaging with the countries affected to ensure greater security to albinos at risk, to scrutinise wrongdoings committed on this basis and to exert pressure to end the cycle of impunity of perpetrators in countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, or Mozambique;

7.Calls for the EU to closely monitor the human rights situation of PWA in Africa, in particular through regular reporting and follow-up work by its delegations, and to continue to promote significant improvements in their protection and social integration;

8.Calls for comprehensive strategies to uproot discriminatory practices and to secure that persons with albinism are guaranteed adequate access to health care, education, and labour, on the basis of non-discrimination and social inclusion;

9.Supports the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations (OHCHR) in its fight to ensure rights for persons with albinism and in its struggle to expound this dermatologic characteristic as part of human diversity;

10.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 President of the Republic of Malawi, the President of the Parliament of Malawi, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, and the ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.