People with albinism in rural Tanzania live in fear: UN expert

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Pictured, in Tanzania, a boy who is blind and has albinism reads Braille in a specialised primary school. UNICEF/ Pirozzi

People with albinism living in Tanzania continue to live in fear, particularly in the rural areas, a United Nations human rights expert has concluded after her first visit to the country.

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 the country.

Albinism, a genetic condition that is characterized by a complete lack of pigmentation, affects people worldwide regardless of their ethnicity or gender.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Praising the Government of Tanzania for tackling the issue, UN independent expert Ikponwosa Ero welcomed on Friday, the drop in the number of reported attacks against people with albinism.

She warned, however, that the root causes of the attacks remain rampant and that the effects of over a decade of violations have taken their toll.

The problem is rooted in the mistaken belief that the body parts of people with albinism have value in witchcraft practices, Ms Ero said.

The Government and civil society have taken measures to address these practices, including the registration of traditional healers.

However, the UN expert noted, confusion still exists in the minds of the general public between witchcraft practice and the work of traditional healers.

Ms Ero called on the authorities to continue to educate the public and strengthen protection measures for people with albinism.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 57″

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