23.1.2009

Stop Albino Slaughter, Organization Pleads

Vancouver — A Canadian organisation fighting for the rights of albinos has called for the intervention of the international community to stop slaughter of people living with the condition in Tanzania.


The organisation, Under The Same Sun whose founder is Canadian businessman Peter Ash, implores all members of civil society to join hands on the issue.

"Please rise up for human dignity," Ash who himself has albinism, says. "Rise up for those being butchered week in and week out. Learn from the holocaust, where too many people took far too long to act. 'We are being hunted like animals please help us!' This is the heart-wrenching cry of 170,000 people with albinism in Tanzania. The global community must act quickly."

Ash also called on media and political leaders to act swiftly so that another child does not have to be mutilated and killed.

The trade in albino body parts is very lucrative, with one leg yielding up to USD 2,000. This market in human body parts stems from beliefs promoted by witchdoctors that the blood, hair or other parts of a person with albinism when combined in a special potion will make its user rich.

To date there have been 41 documented cases of people with albinism being butchered. The Tanzanian albino community places the murder toll much higher at approximately 60 cases. Many of those targeted are children; in one case the victim was just 6 months.

In late 2008 Ash returned from Tanzania where he had led an international delegation from Canada, the US, South Africa and Tanzania on a fact-finding mission to examine the witchcraft-related murders of Tanzanians with albinism.
The delegation met with several senior government officials and presented a petition of over 5,000 signatures from around the world expressing alarm about the murders.

Relevant Links East Africa Human Rights Religion Tanzania United States, Canada and Africa However, despite clear assurances that the Tanzanian government was doing everything possible to stop these gruesome crimes against people with albinism, the public record shows that there has not yet been a single prosecution of any person apprehended in connection with the murders.

Albinism is a genetic condition causing the absence of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes. It affects one in 20,000 people globally. Current Tanzanian estimates place the incidence of albinism at one in 3,000. (All Africa)

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