Joint Press Release by Chairpersons of the Working Group on Death Penalty, Extra-Judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Killings in Africa and the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa regarding the attacks and killings of Persons with Albinism in East Africa

    The Chairpersons of the Working Group on Death Penalty, Extra-judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Killings in Africa and the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa are deeply concerned about reports of brutal and horrific attacks and killings against persons with albinism in Tanzania, Malawi and Burundi.

    In the past months, at least a dozen persons with albinism have been victims of these attacks, including children, women and older persons.

    The Chairpersons of the Working Groups strongly condemn such crimes, which are often motivated by the use of body parts for ritual purposes.

    The killings of persons with albinism is a violation of Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter), which specifically prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of the right to life and enshrines the integrity of persons.

    The Chairpersons of the Working Groups further recall that Article 18 (4) of the Charter recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities and provides that they shall also have the right to special measures of protection in keeping with their physical or moral needs.

    During its 54th Ordinary Session which took place in Banjul, the Gambia from 22 October to 5 November 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted a Resolution on the Prevention of Attacks and Discrimination against Persons with Albinism on the Continent which recognizes the widespread discrimination, stigma and social exclusion directed at persons with albinism and called upon State Parties to take effective measures to eliminate any type of discrimination against persons with albinism, and to accelerate education and public awareness-raising activities.

    The Chairpersons of the Working Groups take note of the positive efforts by the respective Governments to fight this serious violation of the rights to life, dignity and protection from inhuman treatment, and call on the relevant authorities to assume full responsibility, and to duly investigate and bring perpetrators of these gross human rights violations to justice; in accordance with their regional and international human rights obligations.

    However, the Chairpersons of the Working Group remain concerned about imposition of death penalty sentences on perpetrators of these crimes by Tanzania, which pursuant to Resolution [Res ACHPR/Res.136 (XXXXIIII) 08] should observe a moratorium on death penalty.

    The Working Groups continue to monitor the situation of persons with albinism in Africa.


    Banjul, 11 March 2015

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      Date: 16 March 2015

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