According to records by the United Nations, at least 75 albinos were killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015 by people seeking to chop off their arms, limbs and tongue for superstition. The parts are traded in a lucrative market for use in witchcraft. Reported prices range from USD 2,000 7 million Shillings for a limb to USD 75,000 266 million for a corpse.
Albinism is a congenital disorder that affects about one in 20,000 people worldwide who lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes. It is more common in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ikponwosa Ero, the UN independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, made the remarks at the end of her 11-day visit to neighboring Tanzania where albinos still live in fear as a result of the mistaken belief that their body parts have value.
According to records by the United Nations, at least 75 albinos were killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015 by people seeking to chop off their arms, limbs and tongue for superstition. The parts are traded in a lucrative market for use in witchcraft. Reported prices range from USD 2,000 (7 million Shillings) for a limb to USD 75,000 (266 million) for a corpse.
"Confusion still exists in the minds of the general public between witchcraft practice and the work of traditional healers," Ero noted adding that more work was needed to address witchcraft and educate the public.
She also highlighted concerns over the use of schools as protection centres for children with albinism, which in some cases have evolved from temporary shelters into long-term accommodation.
During her mission to Tanzania, Ero met with various high-level officials, civil society representatives, people with albinism, and their family members.
Independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
Ero reiterated a call to African countries to fully implement a regional action plan on ending attacks on persons with albinism in order to overcome the violence and discrimination faced they face.
The regional action plan to end attacks on persons with albinism in Africa - the first-ever such joint initiative - was recently endorsed by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights. It includes 15 practical steps which are expected to address the persisting and deadly challenge as well as support for victims to deter practices of witchcraft and trafficking in body parts.
"We cannot rest until we have seen change in people's lives and tackled the root causes of the current situation," she said, calling everyone concerned to be bold and to persevere to ensure that all people with albinism enjoy their full human rights.