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Malawian officials must live up to their promises to end violence against people with albinism and tackle discrimination against this group, Amnesty International said on International Albinism Awareness Day.

During a series of meetings with senior government officials, including President Arthur Peter Mutharika on June 7, Amnesty International secured commitments to not only address the spate of killings of people with albinism but also to tackle the root causes of discrimination.

“Recognition by the Malawian authorities at the highest level that people with albinism not only experience daily discrimination but also live in constant fear of attacks is an important step in addressing the problem,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“Malawian police need more resources and must conduct thorough and effective investigations to bring the abductions and killings to an end. Visible policing in rural areas coupled with an effective public education campaigns can contribute significantly in arresting the problem.”

BACKGROUND

On June 7, 2016, an Amnesty International delegation presented the organization’s latest report on Malawi to the President, Arthur Peter Mutharika, and other officials including Inspector General of the Police, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and the Minister of Justice.

At the meeting, a series of commitments were made including reviewing government’s policies and establishing the root causes of the crimes against people with albinism.

The government of Malawi also welcomed Amnesty International’s recommendations to ensure safety for the vulnerable group in the country. These include the call for visible policing in rural districts as well as monitoring and recording attacks.

On June 7, Amnesty International launched a report “We are not animals to be hunted or sold”: Violence and discrimination against people with albinism in Malawi which revealed that at least 18 people with albinism had been killed since November 2014.