Children living with albinism face appalling human rights violations in Tanzania

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UN Photo/Marie Frechon

People living with albinism in Tanzania continue to face appalling human rights violations, with many being forced out of their homes for fear of being attacked by criminals in search of body parts for sale, according to the UN Human rights office.

Alicia Londono from the UN Human Rights Office says efforts by authorities in Tanzania to protect and uphold the rights of people living with albinism are being set back by unfounded beliefs and superstitions held by communities and individuals on Albinism.

She says the situation is particularly dire for hundreds of children living with Albinism most of whom have been abandoned by their families and sent to live in overcrowded centres which lack adequate sanitation and facilities to meet their special needs.

"What has been a temporary emergency measure that was welcomed at the beginning of the wave of attacks has become a long term solution and conditions in these centres are appaling. Hygiene conditions are very poor, but most of all these children have lost contact with families. There is urgent need to look much carefully at procedures that have been established to remove children from their families and to maintain family links. In most of the cases, children are abandoned, the places have become dumping places for families to get rid of persons with albinism. The centres are encouraging segregation, there is cases of sexual violence reported and confirmed by authorities. One of the problem is that there is very little supervision."

She says people living with Albinism were also unable to access justice for the crimes committed against them as witnesses were often unwilling to testify for fear of victimization.

In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling on states to take all measures necessary to protect people with albinism including impartial, speedy and effective investigations into crimes against them and their families.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 2.10″

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