The global goals can only be met if we work together

***How partnership has ended: Discrimination, injustice, racial discrimination, and changing the culture that used to affect people with albinism. As today we manage to remove the above mention by working together inform of partnership. For those who want to know how the situation was bad, you can read it here:

In Tanzania, albinos represent one in every 1429 births, a much higher rate than in any other nation. According to Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, an albino member of parliament, there are 6977 officially registered albinos in Tanzania. However, it is believed that there may be up to 17000 undocumented. Tanzania is thought to have the largest population of albinos in Africa. Albinos are especially persecuted in Shinyanga and Mwanza, where witch doctors have promoted a belief in the potential magical and superstitious properties of albinos’ body parts. There are further issues which arise when there is lack of education about albinism.

Origins of myths and superstition causing persecution of people with albinism

African rituals and spiritual ideas about albinism have led to the brutal murder of and attacks on innocent men, women and especially children. These ideas have been around for many generations, but in recent years witch doctors have been teaching misconceived ideas about the promise of wealth, success and power when albino hair or limbs are used in a potion as part of witchcraft practices. This has gained public attention nationally and internationally as these crimes have been reported as crimes against human rights. "Infanticide, kidnapping, amputations, and decapitations, committed for purposes of supplying highly valued body parts used for amulets, which are then sold in underground witchcraft market. Therefore, this causes great unrest and angst among the albino population, who must be protected and often live in a state of solitude simply to protect their own lives and to prevent being hunted like animals.

US congressman Gerry Connolly in 2010 introduced legislation to protect albinos and urge local governments to protect albinos, stating that "With their help and the passage of this resolution today, maybe we can bring an end to these horrific and heinous crimes.

It is clear that "the main driving forces underlying these profiling crimes are ignorance, myth, and superstition, such as the belief that individuals with albinism possess superpowers or that their body parts bestow fortune and health. It is commonly known that in many communities, predominantly in Tanzania and parts of east Africa, superstitious views derived from ancient spiritual beliefs and reinforced by local witch doctors have been carried through centuries of ritualistic practices and mythical beliefs. This creates a serious risk to the lives of persons with albinism as the people believe it will bring them wealth, power, success or health depending on the variances of interpretation. Senior police officers claim that these body parts may be sold for as much as US$75,000 on the black market for a set of arms, legs, ears, and genitals from an individual with albinism. Therefore, there has been an extensive amount of albino murders in the past decade especially in Burundi and Tanzania, wherein 2007 more than seventy documented killings took place and one hundred and fifty body parts of albinos were reported to have been chopped off. Now the number of killings is well over one hundred, with low conviction rates, and albinos continue to have limbs severed, leaving many crippled or severely maimed, traumatized and tortured in the process.

The UN report submitted as part of the Human Rights Council resolution 23/13 of 13 June 2013 states that albinos are often regarded as "ghosts and not human beings, who can be wiped off the global map. They are often persecuted as devils or people who are a bad omen or suffer from a curse. In some communities, it is "believed that contact with them will bring bad luck, sickness or death. Therefore, this is discrimination and mental and emotional persecution alone, where severe bullying of children, exclusion, and abandonment occurs even without brutal physical persecution.

However, the issues which have created a spotlight for the Human Rights Council of the United Nations are the murder of albinos for medicine and dismemberment, and attacks and murder of persons with albinism. Another myth that imposes a risk on people with albinism is the belief that "sexual intercourse with a woman or a girl with albinism can cure HIV/AIDS. The sacrifice of albinos is believed also to “appease the god of the mountain” when fear of a volcano eruption is possible, and it is believed that pulling the hair of albinos can bring good luck. It has also been reported that "miners use the bones of persons with albinism as amulets or bury them where they are drilling for gold. The attacks which occur usually result in the death or severe mutilation of the albino, which according to the Human rights council can in "some cases involve trade in organs, trafficking in persons and sale of children, infanticide and abandonment of children

Action against persecution

With escalating killings, President Kikwete publicly and repeatedly condemned witch doctors, their helpers and middlemen, and the clients, which include members of the police force, for these murders. Victims include children snatched or abducted from their parents. The killers and their accomplices use hair, arms, legs, skin, eyes, genitals, and blood in rituals or for witch potions.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has published a preliminary report regarding discrimination which has been directed toward people with albinism. This report has been submitted as part of the Human Rights Council resolution 23/13 of 13 June 2013. It reinforced that "states would adopt specific measures to protect and preserve the rights to life and security of persons with albinism, as well as their right not to be subject to torture and ill-treatment, and ensure their access to adequate health care, employment, education, and justice. The discrimination of albinos is often demonstrated by family members and relatives especially at birth, and ill-treatment by general society is widespread where there are severe issues of social exclusion and stigma. The Resolution 23/13 explains the Human Rights council’s concerns about "attacks against persons with albinism. Therefore, the Council encouraged the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to submit a report. Navi Pillay is the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. As the representative, on 11 March 2014, she submitted a message which overviewed the current status of discrimination against persons with albinism and possible pathways for change and development in the protection of albinos. "People with albinism have the right to live without fear or bullying, discrimination, social exclusion, killing, and dismemberment. This footage was published on 13 March 2014 to overview the current situation surrounding albinos who live in fear of being murdered or captured for the purposes of murder medicine and witch doctors believe in the magical potential of albino hair and limbs.

Also, a key issue is an influence of educating the public to encourage the removal of the social stigma associated with albinos in a society which does not completely understand that albinism is not a curse or a spiritual ghost, but simply a skin condition. In Zimbabwe albinos have been given the name sope which indicated that they are possessed by evil spirits, and in Tanzania, they are known as zeruzeru which means ‘ghost’. The Report discusses the "most serious human rights violations faced by persons with albinism, primarily focusing on the ritual killings and attacks to which they are subjected. It also includes recommendations to the international community and member states action towards persons with albinism.

Future plans

International Federation Secretary General Bekele Geleta states that "Albinism is one of the most unfortunate vulnerabilities… and needs to be addressed immediately at the international level. This is a cry for international exposure and helps to ensure that people suffering from albinism can be protected from inhumane killings and to be sheltered from the merciless hunters of albino body parts for their potions and spiritual medicine. "The main issues that should be addressed include skin cancer prevention education, stigma and discrimination denouncement, and swift prosecution of albino hunters and their sponsors. Therefore, it is clear that albinos are facing many issues in their lives, and must be protected on the basis of human rights even if they look different and unlike any other race on earth. It is "imperative to inform the medical community and the general national and international public about the tragedies faced by albinos to protect them from skin cancer and ritualistic murders by individuals seeking wealth through clandestine markets perpetuating witchcraft.

A number of steps were taken by the government to protect the albino population. The president ordered a crackdown on witchdoctors in the spring of 2008.](Persecution of people with albinism - Wikipedia) In addition, an albino woman, Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, was named to become a member of the parliament, the first albino in such a position in the history of Tanzania. Police have also been advised to generate lists of albinos and provide special protection for them.

To foil grave robbers, graves of the albinistic were to be sealed with concrete. However, by October 2008, killings had not abated, and while some suspects had been apprehended, no convictions had taken place. It was estimated that over 50 murders had taken place since March 2007, many of them in the mining and fishing communities near Lake Victoria, especially at Mwanza, Shinyanga, and Mara.

In January 2009, "Prime Minister Pinda had declared war on the albino hunters, and in an effort to stop the trade in albino body parts he had revoked the licenses of all the country’s witch doctors who use the body parts in their black magic fetishes.

Convictions against albino hunters

The first ever conviction for the killing of an albino in Tanzania occurred on 23 September 2009 at the High Court in Kahama. This was a “landmark verdict” was due to the fact that there have been more than 50 murders known at this time and this was the first actual conviction. The conviction came about following the murder and mutilation of a 14-year-old boy, Matatizo Dunia, who was attacked by three men in Bukombe district in Shinyanga Region in December 2008. The men carried Dunia from his home late at night before brutally murdering him.

One of them was later found with Dunia’s leg in his possession. The rest of Dunia’s body parts were located concealed in the shrubbery. The men confessed a desire to sell Dunia’s parts to a witch doctor, yet despite this, their legal team had not anticipated the death sentence of hanging which the three men would receive.

The Canada- and Tanzania-based Under The Same Sun albinism activist organization praised the breakthrough but its founder Peter Ash remarked: “This is one conviction. There are 52 other families still awaiting justice”. The Tanzania Albino Society’s chairman Ernest Kimaya called for the hanging to be made public to further demonstrate to others that the issue of killing albinos was to be taken seriously.

This issue with witchcraft and its power and influence is that a witch doctor has, as he is almost always "revered by society as the ultimate truth. Most tribes in ancient times would have committed infanticide upon an albino child seeing it as a bad omen, practiced by the Sukuma, the Digo, and the Maasai. However, in some tribes, the albinos were made the sacrifices of offerings to the gods or for such uses as potions which is what they are still hunted for today in the 21st century. "One of the most dangerous myths and the crux of recent attacks against PWA is that their body parts can be made into potions that give good luck and wealth to its users.

In 2006 some of the first publicly reported killings were spoken about in the media, such as 34-year-old albino woman, Arithi, who was murdered with her arms and legs hacked off and sold. Some cases which have been key in recent years firstly occurred in 2008 when a Tanzanian man tried to sell his albino wife for a price of US$3,000 to Congolese businessmen. Although the businessmen managed to escape their arrest, Interpol has been assigned to attempt to track these men. this is what led to President Jakaya Kikewere ordering a tightening of police and protection from prosecution, however, due to corruption, there is still proof that even policeman are being bribed and “bought off” to turn a blind eye to certain crimes if they are receiving pecuniary gain.

Another example occurred where two mothers who were attacked by gangs with machetes in order to get to their albino children. The men broke into a refugee house known as the Lugufu Camp in Kigoma in search of the children; although the children remained untouched the women received severe injuries. A further case uncovered by US Congressman Gerry Connolly was the November 2008 in Ruyigi, Burundi where the case of a 6-year old albino girl who was shot dead and her head and limbs were hacked off, leaving only her dismembered torso.

Organizations to prevent persecution

Many organizations have been set up to help protect and provide for communities with albinism. Films have also been produced to encourage, educate and create an international understanding of the trials which persons with albinism are facing in a modern world still dealing with ancient rituals and practices which encourage murder for medicine. This is against all international human rights legislation and therefore it is important that persons with albinism are collectively protected.

Other African countries

By June 2008 killings had been reported in neighboring Kenya, South Africa and possibly also the Democratic Republic of Congo

In October 2008 AFP reported on the further expansion of killings of albinos to the Ruyigi region of Burundi. Body parts of the victims are then smuggled to Tanzania where they are used for witch doctor rituals and potions. Albinos have become “a commercial good”, commented Nicodeme Gahimbare in Ruyigi, who established a local safe haven in his fortified house. NB. BY WORKING TOGETHER WE MANAGED TO CHANGE THE SITUATION AS I FACILITATE THESE COMMUNITY OF ALBINISM THERE IS NO KILLING, HUNTER, etc.

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