People with albinism face "extinction" in Malawi

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Around 10,000 people in Malawi have albinism, a harmless genetic disorder. Photo: UN Photo/Marie Frechon

People with albinism face "systemic extinction" in Malawi because of attacks and atrocities committed against them, a UN independent rights expert has warned.

Around 10,000 people have the harmless condition which is characterised by light-coloured skin, caused by a lack of pigment.

Daniel Johnson reports

UN Special Rapporteur Ikponwosa Ero warned that many people in Malawi live in constant fear of attack, sometimes from their own family.

In addition to abductions, killings and mutilations, she said that the graves of people with albinism have also been dug up.

"The people involved in witchcraft will use these body parts in potions and in charms that can then be used for wealth, good luck and success in business. In some incidences you hear that it has been used in the mines and in other countries anyway it has been used to identify gold, or and fishermen use it in their business."

There have been 65 reported attacks in Malawi since late 2014, and at least two more serious incidents during the UN expert's visit, which ended on Friday.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 0’52″


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