Image: Independent Expert on Albinism Ikponwosa Ero. Photo: OHCHR/Christine Wambaa
By Samantha Semoso – EMTV Online
A Report to the UN Human Rights Council from their expert for the first time has warned that people with albinism are being hunted for witch craft rituals, their body parts hacked off and even their graves disrespected and destroyed.
Many innocent people have been attacked in 40 reports across seven countries, most of which are African countries; because of dangerous myths and with the belief that albinism are not human beings, but are ghosts or half-human and cannot die but only disappear. Tragically many believe the condition is a curse, says Ikponwosa Ero, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
Albinism – a condition caused by lack of melanin in the skin, hair and eyes – is a non-contagious, genetically inherited condition affecting people worldwide. It can affect as many as 1 in 70 people, although in general 1 in 5000 to 1 in 20, 000 are affected. It requires both parents to carry the gene.
According to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a moneymaking and horrifying market has emerged. Body parts of albinism people are being traded for use in witchcraft rituals, potions or amulets, with reported prices ranging from $2000 for a limb to $75,000 for a complete set of corpse.
In Ms Ero’s report, victims are being dismembered while still alive off of their body parts used for portions will be more effective the more the victim screams.
Children make up a large proportion of the victims, not least because of another belief that the more innocent a victim is the most potent his or her body parts will be for the potion.
Ms. Ero further noted in her report that “while discrimination based on skin colour is an everyday reality for most persons with albinism, discourse on discrimination based on colour has rarely been applied to albinism,” explaining that it has tended to focus on race or ethnicity.
“There is potential to address albinism under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination because the governing concept is racial discrimination which may be based on any of five ‘grounds’: race, colour, descent, national origin and ethnic origin,” she underscored.